Are the Braves underperforming preseason expectations thus far?

Braves Austin Riley

Braves Country has become so spoiled that a West Coast trip that netted a 1-5 record, including a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers, is the end of the world.

Granted, nobody has enjoyed watching Atlanta play baseball in recent weeks, mostly the lifeless lineup, but there shouldn’t be this mass panic when the calendar just turned to May. This a sixth-month marathon that requires clubs to never get too high or too low, even keel is the goal.

With that being said, the Braves haven’t been great offensively. That’ll be the case for any team whose three best hitters are underperforming expectations like Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley.

However, the pitching has been mostly great and kept the club afloat, if you could even describe a club that’s 21-12 as afloat, which is my entire point. It’s absolutely bewildering that Braves fans are acting like the sky is falling.

So, it’s refreshing to see a national outlet like ESPN talk some sense into clueless Atlanta fans via a stock watch of expectations so far:

Expected: To be one of baseball’s two best teams.

So far: The Braves are probably one of baseball’s two best teams.

The Braves and Dodgers entered their showdown last weekend positioned as expected. Of the numerous injuries we’ve seen so far, Atlanta losing Spencer Strider for the season is perhaps the biggest gut punch of them all. Yet the Braves have chugged along with plenty of momentum so far with offseason acquisitions Reynaldo Lopez and Chris Sale coming up big for the rotation. As with L.A., there are reasons to believe we haven’t seen Atlanta’s best, as Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson and Austin Riley have all fallen well short of projection. That is not likely to last for any of them.

The Braves were 22-10 last year after 32 games while sitting with a 20-12 record in that same span this season. If you are worried about Jarred Kelenic or Orlando Arcia, I understand. They’re wild cards, but if you’re stressed about the team’s big 3, I can’t help you.

The respective track records of Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley should be enough for Braves fans to have a bit more patience than 30-something games worth of struggles; again, if you can even call a 21-12 record struggling.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire


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