I understand the Braves can’t remain this hot for the entire season, but there’s also a part of me that wholeheartedly believes this is the best team in franchise history that will likely win the division by 12+ games.
The Braves are that talented. Their lineup features a multitude of All-Stars. Every man that comes up to the plate is capable of changing the game with one swing of the bat. The rotation is only going to get healthier as the season goes on, and the bullpen has also begun to find its stride. Ken Rosenthal recently predicted seven Braves would make the NL All-Star team, and he also included three in the notable omissions category. This team is littered with top-end talent, but it takes more than stars to become the class of baseball.
One thing Alex Anthopoulos does not get enough credit for is his awareness when it comes to depth, and this season has been a perfect example. How many teams could withstand two of their best starters going down with injury and still win 20 games in a month? The answer is not many.
Kolby Allard is the latest depth piece to make an impact, as he tossed 4.2 innings of shutout ball against the Twins yesterday, but this has been going on all year.
Jesse Chavez somehow keeps finding his way to the Braves because nobody else seems to want him. All he’s done is record a 1.55 ERA over 31 appearances. Michael Tonkin has also been a wonderful find that has been reliable out of the bullpen. Nick Anderson, who was had for chump change in free agency, has served as one of the team’s set up men, and the latest reliever to make an impact is Ben Heller, who was acquired in a trade with the Rays for cash.
On the offensive end, Kevin Pillar has been a more than worthy platoon option, especially when Eddie Rosario was struggling. And even Sam Hilliard had some critical moments for the team early in the season.
All of these players could have been had by any team in baseball if their general managers were just paying attention, yet they all ended up with the Braves for pennies. Alex Anthopoulos is something special. His attention to detail is second to none. He knows it takes 30-35 guys to win a World Series, and he leaves no stone unturned when it comes to improving the roster. It’s a joy to watch him work, and these players deserve some credit for what the Braves have been able to accomplish this season.
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