Bleacher Report isn’t buying this early-season Braves trend

Braves Austin Riley

The Braves are 27-17 on the season. Pretty much the exact same spot they were in last year, but you wouldn’t know that if you asked an Atlanta fan.

Whether it’s the red hot Phillies or the dead Braves bats, there’s an unreal amount of pessimism around the club this season, and I understand it to a certain extent. The offense has been borderline unwatchable for about a month now, but I truly believe there’s nothing to worry about.

Have you looked at the back of Ronald Acuna, Matt Olson, and Austin Riley’s respective baseball cards? They’ll figure it out. One of the greatest offenses of all time didn’t just forget how to hit.

Bleacher Report names the Brave sluggish offensive start one of their early season trends not to let fool you.

When looking at the biggest offensive declines from 2023 to 2024, two words will inevitably escape one’s mouth upon seeing that Atlanta is in the No. 1 spot.

“Wait, what?”

Even if this isn’t exactly a fresh story at this point, it’s still one that boggles the mind. This is, after all, the same offense that hit a record-tying 307 home runs and generally made a run at the 1927 Yankees last season. Or at least, it’s supposed to be.

From 30,000 feet up, the explanations for the mediocre-ing of Atlanta’s offense aren’t hard to spot. There are more strikeouts, for one. And fewer hard-hit balls, for another.

But there’s also been some bad luck. Atlanta’s offense has notably had more barrels turn into outs than any other offense in the National League. There are some doozies in there, including bolts by Austin Riley and Michael Harris II that had no business finding leather.

And speaking of Riley, there’s something about him, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson going from a collective .955 OPS in 2023 to a mere .705 OPS in 2024 that just doesn’t feel right. They’ll be better. Heck, they can only be better.

Regardless of the bad luck, which will eventually turn in the Braves’ favor, Atlanta’s best players haven’t been playing like it thus far. Olson, Acuna, and Riley will surely figure it out, but worrying about the bottom of the order isn’t crazy.

Jarred Kelenic, Orlando Arica, Michael Harris II, and Adam Duvall struggling is a bit more concerning. Everyone should feel far less confident in those guys pulling their weight, but baseball is a game of ups and downs; this too shall pass.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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