Braves well represented in The Athletic’s midseason awards

MLB: JUN 30 Marlins at Braves

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the Braves?

This team seemingly breaks a franchise or league record every other day, thanks in large part to their potent offense, which remarkably includes six players with 15 or more home runs before the All-Star break. This high-octane roster boasts three of the MLB’s top five players in terms of OPS, and four positions are on track to hit 40 or more home runs.

It’s a good time to be a Braves fan, and the celebration isn’t over. By season’s end, Atlanta could hoist its second World Series trophy in three years, along with a slew of individual awards.

Jayson Stark of The Athletic did a midseason award piece, and of course, the best team in baseball was well represented. 

Ronald Acuna Jr. was the NL MVP, with Matt Olson and Sean Murphy included in the top 10.

The Venezuelan superstar is on pace to do something nobody in the game has ever done — reach 30 home runs and 60 stolen bases. Not only that, he’s actually on pace to cruise past that and reach 40 home runs and 70 steals.

Moreover, nobody has reached 40 steals and 20 home runs before the All-Star break; he’s currently at 41 steals and 21 homers at the time of this writing. He’s leading the league in steals, runs, OPS, and slugging.

Acuna could potentially swipe 70+ bags while sporting an OPS north of 1.000, which, you guessed it, has also never been done before. He’s the most physically talented baseball player in franchise history and maybe in baseball, not named Shohei Ohtani.

He’s doing things we’ve never seen before. Nobody is catching him in the MVP race.

Brian Snitker also got some love in Stark’s midseason awards. No, he didn’t win Manager of the Year but was included in the top 3. Unfortunately for Snit, when you’re the skipper of a club as talented as the Braves, you might never get your due.

And last but certainly not least, Bryce Elder was among the top five finishers in the NL Cy Young, with Zac Gallen taking home the midseason award.

The Diamondbacks ace is sporting a 3.15 ERA, 2.83 FIP, and 1.08 WHIP across 18 starts, boasting a 10-3 record. Gallen also has an impressive 9.7 K/9 and rarely gives up free passes too often with his 1.86 BB/9.

Still, Elder has been widely successful in his own right and arguably better. The 2020 fifth-rounder owns a 2.45 ERA, 3.80 FIP, and 1.14 WHIP across 17 starts. He might not have the punchout stuff like Spencer Strider, but Bryce Elder knows how to get batters out. He certainly deserves recognition in the Cy Young debate.

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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