The first month of the season came to an end a couple of days ago, and ESPN recently handed out grades for all 30 teams based on their performance. The Braves didn’t get the best grade of any team, but they were right up there at the top, receiving an A-.
Nothing here to suggest the Braves are anything but what we expected: strong World Series contenders — if not the favorites to win it all. Ronald Acuna Jr. has been a swashbuckling star, hitting for average and running wild on the bases. Spencer Strider has emerged as the early Cy Young favorite. Sean Murphy has been the best catcher in the majors. The grade isn’t higher, though, because it hasn’t been a perfect month. Michael Harris II just returned from a back injury that sidelined him for three weeks in April, Marcell Ozuna has struggled in the DH role and A.J. Minter coughed up a couple of late leads in a three-game sweep to the Astros — and then he blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth to the Marlins a few days ago.
The only teams that received better grades than the Braves were the Rays, Pirates, Orioles, and Brewers. The Rays and Pirates were given an A+, while the Orioles and Brewers each received an A.
ESPN’s grade for the Braves is far from disrespectful, but I would argue they should have at least received an A because of the amount of injuries they have had to navigate. Atlanta sitting 10 games over .500 after a month of baseball isn’t shocking. They were expected to be the best team in the National League coming into the season.
However, Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Raisel Iglesias, Collin McHugh, Michael Harris II, Travis d’Arnaud, and Orlando Arcia have all spent time on the IL. That’s half the rotation, two of their best bullpen arms, and three starters all missing at least a couple of weeks, and the Braves have still managed to go ten games over .500. That’s absolutely insane, which is a testament to the team’s roster depth. The Braves are off to a fantastic start, and with guys continuing to make their way back, things are only looking up for the team that has won the NL East five straight times.
Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.