The Braves are the hottest team in baseball. The Phillies have the second-best record in baseball since June 3, winners of 17 of their last 22 but have somehow lost ground in the division, 2.5 games to be exact. It’s because the roster is littered with elite talent.
Despite being down the best lefty on the planet in Max Fried and Kyle Wright, the rotation has held its own. Spencer Strider faltered in a couple of starts but has looked like the best pitcher on the planet more recently. Bryce Elder would contend for the NL Cy Young if the season ended today, and Charlie Morton is doing just enough for the Braves.
The bullpen has also been stellar when called upon for the most part, featuring a number of unlikely heroes. But the pitching staff hasn’t usually had to hold things together because the Braves’ offense is the best in baseball.
Over the month of June, the club is averaging around a .900 OPS while breaking home run and win records. It’s a dominant force that features no easy outs. It all starts at the top with the best player in baseball, not named Shohei Ohtani — Ronald Acuna Jr. The Venezuelan superstar is doing things we’ve never seen before, nearly on pace for 40 home runs and 70 steals. Nobody in league history has even eclipsed 30/60.
Then, there’s Matt Olson, who leads the NL in home runs, and Sean Murphy, who has been the best catcher in baseball. Hell, Ozzie Albies is on pace for nearly 40 homers. Michael Harris II has been the hottest hitter in baseball over the last few weeks, while Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna turn back the clocks, producing like it’s 2021 and 2020, respectively.
There are just no holes on this team, which is why it features so many All-Stars, several of which are first-timers. Sean Murphy and Orlando Arcia are starting for the first time in their careers, while Ronald Acuna notches yet another All-Star nod.
NL All-Star starters:
C: Sean Murphy, Atlanta
1B: Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles
2B: Luis Arraez, Miami
SS: Orlando Arcia, Atlanta
3B: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis
OF: Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta
OF: Corbin Carroll, Arizona
OF: Mookie Betts, Los Angeles
DH: J.D. Martinez, Los Angeles
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 29, 2023
Several others are up for selection by the coaches. Strider, Elder, Jesse Chavez, Ozzie Albies, and Matt Olson are possibilities, but none are guaranteed.
Congratulations to all of the Braves who will travel to Seattle!
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire