The Braves wrapped up their first week of the season with two consecutive home wins against the Rays, putting them back over the .500 mark. They continue tonight at Truist Park with a four-game series against the Mets. There’s been a ton of positives through the first tenth of this shortened season, but there are also plenty of concerns for the reigning NL East champions as they attempt to get over the hump and win their first playoff series since 2001. Let’s get into it.
Dansby Swanson is the MVP
Through seven games, Swanson is hitting .370 with a National League-leading nine RBIs while also playing elite defense at a premium position. His approach at the plate is flawless, and the power to all fields has returned. This is the guy we saw through the first half of last season, and there’s no reason to think he’s going to slow down, providing he can stay healthy for the full 60 games.
The Braves are in good hands with Mike Soroka and Max Fried
The Braves might not have any idea what they are going to get from starters three through five, but their two stallions are proving they can hold things down until they figure it out. Through two starts each, they’ve only allowed a total of five earned runs, and both are sporting sub-2.50 ERAs. The Braves are in good hands with Soroka and Fried leading their rotation — not just this year, but for many years to come.
Austin Riley is struggling
Outside of the mammoth shot he had on Sunday Night Baseball against the Mets, Austin Riley has looked a lot more like the player who ended last season rather than the player who started it. It’s only been seven games, so there’s no reason to panic, but it’s worth monitoring going forward. The Braves need his bat in the middle of the lineup if they want to reach their full potential.
We are going to like this Marcell Ozuna guy
Josh Donaldson who? The Braves top three in the batting order has not been very productive, outside of one game from Freddie Freeman. They are going to be fine, but luckily, while they have been scuffling, Marcell Ozuna has picked up the slack. He’s hitting .364 with two homers and three doubles so far. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Ozuna hit .250 with 17 bombs in the first 60 games of last season.
Braves need their young arms to step up
I’ve said it several times, and Brian Snitker talked about it earlier this week; the Braves need some of their young arms like Newcomb and Wright to step up. Right now, Atlanta’s starting pitching consists of Mike Soroka, Max Fried, and hold your breath. If they can’t find at least two more viable starting options, there’s no way they will be able to compete with the best teams come October.
The bullpen could be the best in the majors
I wrote about it yesterday, but thus far, the Braves bullpen has lived up to the hype, and they don’t even have Will Smith yet, who is close to rejoining the team after his COVID hiatus. In his absence, Jackson, Greene, Martin, and Melancon have been fantastic, but perhaps the most exciting part about this group so far is A.J Minter. He’s looked great when Brian Snitker has called his number. Having Minter return to his 2018 form would make this unit as lethal as any relief core in the majors.
The MLB must act swiftly when finding positive coronavirus tests
This one has nothing to do with the Braves, and hopefully, they never have to deal with this situation the whole season. However, if we learned anything from the Marlins fiasco, Major League Baseball has to act swiftly in postponing games anytime there is a positive test. This virus is extremely contagious, especially if it gets into a clubhouse. This morning, the Cardinals reportedly had positive tests, which caused the league to postpone their game for tonight immediately. That’s a wise decision. I think this season will be completed, but it’s going to take a monumental effort on behalf of the league to make it happen.