The Braves have had an incredibly frustrating season, but that will all be in the past if they can take care of business against the Phillies. The acquisitions that Alex Anthopoulos made at the trade deadline helped flip the script, but it will also force him to face some gut-wrenching decisions this offseason.
While Richard Rodriguez is under team control for a few more seasons, the picture in the outfield is cloudy. Ronald Acuña Jr. is coming off of an ACL injury, and nobody knows what will happen with Marcell Ozuna. Cristian Pache and Drew Waters are also waiting in the wings, leaving the Braves with four critical decisions to make. This is actually a pretty difficult ranking; all of these guys have been incredibly productive for the Braves. I wish they could keep everyone, but with limited roster spots, it may prove difficult.
*All stats are from before Tuesday night’s game
4. OF Joc Pederson
2021 Stats (ATL): .250/.326/.421/.727, 8 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR
Big Knock Joc was the first piece acquired by the Braves, and although he wasn’t a deadline day acquisition, he has been an impact player from the jump. Joc started scorching hot with the Braves, and he has made a game-saving clutch play on more than one occasion. Be careful here, Joc could easily rise up this ranking after the playoffs — they call him Joctober for a reason.
3. OF Jorge Soler
2021 Stats (ATL): .262/.345/.503/.858, 11 2B, 12 HR
Even though the leadoff role is one that may not seem picture perfect for Soler, he has done pretty well, getting on base consistently for the Braves. Like the rest of these guys, he has come up huge since moving to Atlanta — notably against the Giants in a thriller that saw the aforementioned Pederson make a leaping catch to seal the win.
Soler was only hitting .192 with a .288 OBP for the Royals, but his uptick in walks and almost 9% decrease in strikeout rate has helped him break out since the trade. While he is a bit of a liability in the field, he would make for a solid DH if the Braves move on from Marcell Ozuna.
2. OF Eddie Rosario
2021 Stats (ATL): .280/.345/.600/.945, 2 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR
Eddie Rosario was the forgotten man while he recovered from injury, but I knew that he could be an impact player on this squad. He won the heart of Braves fans after hitting for the cycle on five pitches. We’ve written multiple offseason pieces about the Braves signing Rosario, but all that it cost to acquire him at the deadline was Pablo Sandoval. Needless to say, the trade worked out.
While Rosario only had a .658 OPS when the Braves acquired him, anyone who was familiar with him knew he was a valuable piece that can straight up hit. Rosario is a versatile defender that can play all over the diamond and is almost an upgraded version of Johan Camargo. He should have been a Brave two years ago, and now he should be going forward as well.
1. OF Adam Duvall
2021 Stats (ATL): .238/.299/.546/.844, 7 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR
Come on, did you really think this spot was going to anyone else? Letting Duvall go in the first place was a mistake from the jump, and he made the Braves pay dearly for it. While he was with the Marlins, Duvall hit .368 with a 1.237 OPS against the Braves, including five home runs. Today, Duvall is second in the NL in home runs and first in RBI. While those numbers don’t tell the whole story, Braves fans know how clutch he has been. No need to make the same mistake twice with a mutual option on the table.