The Braves feature one of the deepest, most powerful lineups in baseball, and it features one of the most potent duos in the sport, according to MLB.com.
Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley came in ranked sixth behind Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado of the Cardinals, Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve of the Astros, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman of the Dodgers, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani of the Angels, and Juan Soto and Manny Machado of the Padres.
As Riley’s star grew over the past couple of seasons, we missed out on seeing Acuña’s star rise ever further after a spectacular start to his career. Over his first three MLB seasons, from 2018-20, Acuña owned a .909 OPS while averaging 42 homers and 32 steals per 162 games. Then came a tear in his right ACL just before the All-Star break in ’21.
That injury kept Acuña out until late April of last year, so we haven’t gotten to see a full season with both of these sluggers in the lineup. That could change in 2023, as Acuña looks to stay healthy all season and Riley looks to build on a pair of fantastic seasons as Atlanta’s everyday third baseman. The past two seasons, he’s hit .288/.358/.530 with 71 homers, earning him a 10-year, $212 million extension.
Unfortunately for the rest of the league, there are nine players in a lineup, and Atlanta might have the best in baseball. The Padres and Astros rival what the Braves currently have, but it’s a toss-up. The club is primed to compete for another World Series in 2023, and its high-powered offense is a main reason why.