The Braves had a magical end to the 2022 season, getting scorching hot in June and capturing the NL East at the last minute. Winning 101 games is an achievement in itself, but I wanted to highlight many of the individual efforts that made those 101 wins possible.
Spencer Strider and Charlie Morton Strike Out 200 Each
With a team that has a rich history of pitching like the Braves, you would expect them to have a pair of 200 strikeout pitchers in a season. That didn’t come to fruition until 2022, with two names you may not have expected:
For the first time since 1886, multiple Braves pitchers have reached the 200-strikeout mark in the same season. Charlie Morton and Spencer Strider have done it this year, while Old Hoss Radbourn (218) and Bill Stemmyer (239) both reached the mark in 1886.
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) September 25, 2022
Wright Wins 20
Pitchers with 21+ wins in 30 or fewer starts over the last 50 seasons:
– Kyle Wright (2022)
– Clayton Kershaw (2014)
– Pedro Martinez (1999)
— Paul Casella (@Paul_CasellaMLB) October 2, 2022
Kyle Wright had 2 career victories entering the season, now he leads the Majors with 21 wins
The last pitcher with fewer career victories before a 20-win season was Cincinnati's Tom Browning, who went 20-9 in 1985 after entering the year with a 1-0 record in three career starts.
— Ethan Sands (@EjElite1) October 2, 2022
Kyle Wright really deserved this. I was one of the few people in his camp before this season, and I’m glad his confidence from the 2021 World Series translated to this season.
Extra Base Hits Galore
The Braves had a knack for extra base hits, especially doubles. Austin Riley fell just short of a 40/40 season, but he did pace the NL with 79 extra base hits. Teammate Matt Olson fell just short of Riley with 78. Both guys were huge catalysts for this offense, and the Braves are gonna need more of what they have been cooking in the postseason.
This season, Matt Olson and Dansby Swanson were the only two players in the majors to play all 162 games. They’re getting some much deserved rest skipping the Wild Card Round. Both guys were extremely clutch against the Mets; they earned their days off.
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) October 3, 2022
The 9 Hole
The Braves received insane production from the 9th spot in their lineup, whether it was Vaughn Grissom, the aforementioned Harris, Robbie Grossman, or whoever else needed to fill in that day. The Braves got 96 RBIs out of the spot — second most in MLB history.
Kenley Comes Up Clutch
Kenley Jansen had his moments in 2022, but he still paced the NL in saves with 41, including four in five days — three of those coming against the Mets to capture the NL East. Kenley clutched up when it mattered:
Kenley Jansen appreciation post:
From Aug 27 to Sept 11
7 games, 0-2, 3 blown saves, 7 R, 4 BB, 5 K, 3 HR, 11.12 ERA
11 games, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 16 K, 0.82 ERA, 8-for-8 in saves, including 4 of the most important of the season in just 5 days pic.twitter.com/P5bWVyPLum
— Knockahoma Nation (@KnockahomaNTN) October 6, 2022
He’s only the 3rd guy to save 40 games in franchise history, joining John Smoltz and Craig Kimbrel
Raisel Iglesias Dazzles
One of the most underrated trade deadline acquisitions in all of baseball, Raisel Iglesias has been lights out for Atlanta in a setup role.
He’s going to be a massive piece in October.
Chicks Dig the Long Ball
The Braves had eight players hit 15 home runs for the first time in franchise history, and the number could have easily been ten. Ozzie Albies missed almost 100 games and had eight home runs, and Adam Duvall had 12 in 86 games. Regardless, this team is loaded with power from top to bottom.
Braves Catchers Step Up
Travis d’Arnaud and Wild Bill Contreras were two of the best catchers in baseball this season. Both guys never let the other one get a leg up, and even though d’Arnaud was the primary catcher, they were equally important. They provided Atlanta with a ton of offense. From Mark Bowman:
William Contreras tallied 20 homers and Travis d’Arnaud contributed 18 homers during what was an All-Star season for both Braves catchers. They are one of six catching duos to ever both hit at least 18 homers in the same season. The Royals duo of Salvador Perez and MJ Melendez also recently accomplished this.
I expect both guys to come up clutch in the postseason again.
Harris II is sensational as a rookie
Not only did Michael Harris impress as a rookie, he impressed overall — really showing out for the Braves and honestly saving their season:
Michael Harris II enters today with a 4.8 fWAR over 114 games. The only Braves rookie position player to produce a higher fWAR was Rico Carty (4.9) over 133 games in 1964. Acuña had a 4.0 fWAR over 111 games in 2018.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) October 5, 2022
Harris finished one home run shy of a 20/20 season as a rookie, and he may still bring home a Gold Glove for his incredible defense in center field.
Speaking of Rookies… The kids are alright.
Vaughn Grissom, Michael Harris II, and Spencer Strider all gave the Braves a breath of life. Strider and Harris will duke it out for NL Rookie of the year. Both were impressive, but we already talked about Harris. Not every day do you see Randy Johnson’s records being broken:
#Braves rookie Spencer Strider just set an MLB record, recording his 200th strikeout of the season in just 130 IP.
Strider just bested Randy Johnson for the fewest innings to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. Johnson set that record in 2001, getting to 200 K in 130.2 IP. pic.twitter.com/3AFE3uub6d
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) September 18, 2022
Vaughn Grissom came back down to earth, but he gave the Braves a huge spark when they were hitting a small snag. Who could forget his first MLB home run (with the bat flip to boot)?
FIRST DADDY HACK FOR VAUGHN GRISSOM WITH THE BAT FLIP TO TOP IT OFF pic.twitter.com/MOpwNQZOIa
— SportsTalkATL Jake (1-0 in GOTYs) (@cantguardjake) August 11, 2022
It was an incredible regular season; however, the job isn’t finished. This team has back-to-back aspirations, attempting to become the first team to do so since the Yankees went for a three-peat in 2000.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire