The Braves have been the best team in baseball the entire season. Their lineup is historic, while their rotation and bullpen have been near the top of the league in almost every category, which is pretty amazing considering all the injuries this staff has had to battle through. This is the best Braves team I’ve seen with my two eyes and the scariest part, they could get even better in the future.
Kiley McDaniel of ESPN recently ranked the future cores for all 30 MLB teams. Unsurprisingly, the Braves owned the top spot.
I intentionally kept a hard line for what defined an “elite” player throughout this process, and it ended up that there were 26 total. That means the Braves, who have five, have 19% of the sport’s such players under multiple years of control. The thing that helps the Braves (and most of the top five teams in this ranking) stand out is how quickly and effectively they identify players who fit their model — and move to acquire them and get them acclimated and in the big leagues so quickly. Strider and Harris were fourth- and third-round picks respectively, but were among the first to the big leagues of their draft cohort — and they’ve stuck there. Letting Freddie Freemanand Dansby Swanson leave via free agency was a tough decision for GM Alex Anthopoulos, but look at their replacements: Olson is younger and will get MVP votes this year, while Arcia, essentially left on the scrap heap, is about to turn in a 3-win season for $7.3 million — and that’s the cost through 2025. Keep an eye on Waldrep, the Braves’ first-round pick in July, to potentially get a look this fall as a dangerous weapon out of the bullpen with his mesmerizing knuckle splitter.
McDaniel separated the cores into three separate categories — elite, above average, and solid. As he states above, only 26 players across the league fell into his elite category… the Braves had five of them. To put that in perspective, no other team had more than two. That’s how far ahead they are compared to the rest of the league, and all of those players have several years of control.
The Braves have essentially their entire lineup locked up, and with the way The Battery is printing money, the team is going to continuously spend more than they ever have year after year. Just imagine some of the free agents they’ll be able to pair with an already loaded lineup. The Braves aren’t just World Series favorites right now. They are going to be favorites for years to come, and it probably won’t be close.
Photo: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire