All-Star festivities just wrapped up in Seattle. The Braves sent a franchise record eight players to the game after arguably the greatest first half in club history. They broke a bevy of records en route to 60 wins.
It’s the best offense in baseball, featuring four of the best producers in that facet of the game — Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, Sean Murphy, and Ozzie Albies. Despite never being healthy, the pitching staff has quietly put up the best ERA as a club thanks to contributions from Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, Charlie Morton, and the unexpected contributors from the bullpen.
It’s the best team with the best player in the league as well as the most electric arm in the game. Obviously, the World Series is the ultimate goal. Acuna and Olson didn’t participate in the Home Run Derby for that reason, but individual accolades are also awesome, and the Braves have a chance to take two of the biggest home — MVP and Cy Young.
RAJ is the overwhelming favorite to take home the MVP for the National League. He currently sits anywhere from -330 to -500 favorite to win the award, and it’s clear why.
The Venezuelan superstar is on pace to do something nobody in the game has ever done — reach 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases. Not only that, he’s actually on pace to cruise past that and flirt with 40 home runs as well as reach 70+ steals. He’s leading the league in steals, runs, OPS, and slugging. Acuna is doing things we’ve never seen before. Nobody is catching him in the MVP race as long as he’s healthy.
There’s also a chance several other Braves finish in the top 10 of voting. Matt Olson currently sits with the 7th-best odds and Sean Murphy sits just outside the top 10, while Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies aren’t far behind.
As far as the Cy Young goes, Spencer Strider sits with the second-best odds, anywhere from +300 to +410, behind Zac Gallen. The hard throwing righty has a 3.44 ERA through 18 starts and an 11-2 record to go along with 166 strikeouts to just 34 walks for a K/BB ratio of 4.9 and a WHIP of 1.09. Nobody has nastier stuff than Strider. Even if Gallen performs well in the second half, if the Braves ace does what he’s capable of, he should take home the Cy Young.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire