The Braves are coming off back-to-back series sweeps against the Reds and Royals, good for a six-game winning streak. Despite being down a slew of starters, the club continues to rattle off wins. It’s a testament to Alex Anthopoulos’s work building a complete roster. As one of the hottest teams in baseball, the Braves sit atop MLB.com’s power rankings.
1. Braves, 12-4 (last week: 2)
The Rays’ winning streak is old news. The cool streaking team now is the Braves, who went 6-0 on the week, sweeping the Reds and the Royals. The Braves currently have three players with an OPS over 1.000: Matt Olson, Ronald Acuña Jr. and, the team’s leader in that category, Sean Murphy, who is getting on base at a .446 clip. They also have a top-10 pitching staff right now. They’ve got another fun series set up to start the week against the Padres in San Diego, but it’s the Padres who should be afraid: The Braves are already rolling.
The Braves have dealt with plenty of blows. At some point, each of the following has spent time on the Injured List — Kyle Wright, Max Fried, Travis d’Arnaud, Orlando Arcia, Michael Harris II, Colin McHugh, Raisel Iglesias, and others. That would be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for most clubs, but the Braves aren’t like most MLB teams.
Alex Anthopoulos has assembled the best roster in franchise history, despite losing All-Stars in back-to-back offseasons. The pitching staff is once again among the league’s best, and there might not be a deeper, more powerful lineup, which is led by three MVP candidates in Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and Austin Riley.
Moreover, Sean Murphy deserves a heap of praise for the work he’s done so early in the season. With d’Arnaud going down, Murphy has assumed most of the catching duties while emerging as one of the club’s top offensive contributors. He’s come as advertised, and maybe even better than advertised.
With Max Fried on the bump tonight against the Padres, the health of the team is turning around. In the coming weeks, the Braves will welcome back d’Arnaud, Arcia, Harris, McHugh, and Iglesias. This club is primed to win 100+ games for a second straight season.
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire
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