The Braves are arguably the best team in baseball, despite a laundry list of injuries.
The club began the season without Kyle Wright and Raisel Iglesias, but it would get much worse. At some point, Michael Harris II, Travis d’Arnaud, Collin McHugh, Max Fried, and others have spent time on the IL.
It’s just a testament to the resilience of the team and Alex Anthopoulos’ work constructing a deep roster.
Everyone expected the Braves to be among the best teams in the MLB, though. This isn’t shocking. They boast All-Stars up and down the lineup, in the starting rotation, and out of the bullpen.
Ronald Acuna Jr. is poised to win his first MVP if he can remain healthy. Matt Olson is near the top of the league in home runs; Ozzie Albies is reminding everyone he’s one of the best second basemen in the league, but the new shiny toy has taken the league by storm.
The Braves biggest offseason move this past winter was Sean Murphy, and he’s exceeded expectations. In fact, he’s performing better than anyone playing in a new city.
Stats as of 5/11
- Mets: Justin Verlander — 12.0 innings, 2.25 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 0.833 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 0.2 fWAR
- Padres: Xander Bogaerts — 36 games, .272/.367/.441, .808 OPS, 15 RBIs, 6 homeruns, 1.7 fWAR
- Rangers: Jacob deGrom — 30.1 innings, 2.67 ERA, 1.60 FIP, 0.758 WHIP,13.4 K/9, 1.4 fWAR
- Phillies: Trea Turner — 37 games, .261/.305/.408, .713 OPS, 10 RBIs, 4 homeruns, 0.7 fWAR
- Twins: Pablo Lopez — 49.1 innings, 3.47 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 1.074 WHIP, 11.3 K/9, 1.1 fWAR
- Marlins: Luis Arraez — 34 games, .398/.457/.488, .944 OPS, 13 RBIs, 1 homerun, 1.0 fWAR
- Cubs: Dansby Swanson — 36 games, .289/.392/.423, .814 OPS, 15 RBIs, 3 homeruns, 1.7 fWAR
- Yankees: Carlos Rodón — N/A
If we are talking wins above replacement, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogaerts have been the most impactful offseason additions thus far, but Justin Verlander just returned from injury, and deGrom has been scratched a couple of times. Carlos Rodon has yet to make his Yankees debut in what has to be one of the bigger disappointments for New Yorkers.
Luis Arraez leads the league in average and on-base percentage and is making the Marlins very happy with the acquisition, but this is a rare win-win because the Twins are equally delighted with Pablo Lopez in Minnesota. Trea Turner is off to a slower start after opening as one of the pre-season favorites to take home the MVP.
But none are performing better than the Braves’ Sean Murphy.
The former Athletic ranks second in fWAR (2.3) behind Zac Gallen (2.4) thanks to some unbelievable offense and Gold Glove defense. He’s slashing .288/.428/.613 with nine long balls, good for a 1.040 OPS. His 178 wRC+ is fifth-best among all position players; he’s third in slugging and fourth in runs batted in, all while playing elite defense behind the dish, accumulating a league-leading 6.3 Defensive WAR.
Braves fans are pinching themselves. Sean Murphy is that good, and he’s playing better than anyone else donning a new jersey this year.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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