It’s a little deep into 2020, but now is as good a time as ever to revisit some of the best Braves’ players in each decade. Of course, given this is Year 1 of the 2020s, the Braves’ All-2010s lists have come out in droves over the last several months, but here at SportsTalkATL, we’re going to construct our all-decade teams a little differently than the rest.
Starting with the most recently completed decade (the 2010s), we will build a 26-man roster, listing the best Braves players of each era. The “best players” will be the stars that accumulated the most FanGraphs WAR while with the Braves during each respective decade.
But first, a look at how the Braves performed as a team…
- 3 NL East titles
- Avg. record: 84-78
The four-year rebuild from 2014-17 hurt what was mostly a well-played decade for the Braves (the team averaged just 71.5 wins during that four-season stretch). However, despite a temporary run of losing, the 2010s were filled with momentous events.
The 2010s featured the final year of the Bobby Cox era (2010), the retiring of Hall of Famer Chipper Jones (2012), the debut of perhaps the sport’s next all-time best player and the team’s next great starting pitcher, in outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and righty Mike Soroka (2018). On top of that, the most recent decade appears to have constructed another young talented core, destined to achieve what the great Braves teams of the 90s and 2000s only managed.
Most significant plays
Included in each installment of our all-decade series, we’ll have two of the most memorable events from that span of ten years. On offense, we’ll feature the hit that scored the most WPA (win-probability-added), and for pitching we’ll use the start that scored the highest Game Score.
Chipper’s walk-off in 2012 (0.86 WPA)
Of the 26 walk-off homers from the 2010s, perhaps none was more special than Chipper Jones’ three-run blast off Philadelphia’s Jonathan Papelbon on September 2, 2012. At the time of Chipper’s heroics, the Braves were still down 6.5 games to the Nationals in the NL East, but that crazy Sunday night at Turner Field provided a spark as the Braves went on to finish 19-8 during September (granted, their run wasn’t enough to conquer the division). Sadly though, Chipper and the Braves would later fall in the 2012 Wild Card game versus the Cardinals in what was most likely the worst conclusion to a Hall of Fame player’s career.
Folty’s gem vs. Washington in 2018 (93 GScore)
Julio Teheran deserves credit for holding five of the top-20 starts of the 2010s for the Braves; however, Mike Foltynewicz posted the best outing of the decade on June 1, 2018, when he tossed a complete-game two-hitter against the Nationals. In Folty’s 106-pitch gem, he struck out 11 and walked just one in a 4-0 win — the beginning of an all-time month for the hard-throwing righty. During June of 2018, in four starts, Foltynewicz maintained a 1.13 ERA and allowed just a .123/.211/.185 slash line. This was no doubt the peak of his career.
Now, the Braves’ all-decade team for the 2010s, featuring each player’s WAR total while with Atlanta (from 2010-19).
Each all-decade team will feature a 26-man roster, constructed with the top players from the decade (per FanGraphs WAR). Each team will include 5 infielders, 5 outfielders, 2 catchers, a 5-man starting rotation, and a 9-man bullpen.
- 1B: Freddie Freeman— 34.6 WAR
- 2B: Ozzie Albies— 10.3 WAR
- SS: Andrelton Simmons— 10.1 WAR
- 3B: Chipper Jones— 6.9 WAR
- UTIL: Martin Prado— 9.5 WAR
- LF: Ronald Acuna Jr.— 9.3 WAR
- CF: Ender Inciarte— 9.9 WAR
- RF: Jason Heyward— 19.5 WAR
- BNCH: Justin Upton— 7.2 WAR
- BNCH: Michael Bourn— 6.2 WAR
- Brian McCann— 22.5 WAR
- Tyler Flowers— 11.6 WAR
- Julio Teheran, RHP— 13.7 WAR
- Tim Hudson, RHP— 7.9 WAR
- Mike Foltynewicz, RHP— 7.8 WAR
- Kris Medlen, RHP— 6.9 WAR
- Alex Wood, LHP — 6.7 WAR
- Craig Kimbrel, RP— 11 WAR
- Jonny Venters, RP— 2.2 WAR
- Jim Johnson, RP— 2.1 WAR
- Arodys Vizcaino, RP— 2 WAR
- Billy Wagner, RP— 2 WAR
- A.J. Minter, RP— 1.9 WAR
- David Carpenter— 1.8 WAR
- Eric O’Flaherty— 1.7 WAR
- Luke Jackson— 1.7 WAR
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