Four takeaways from the Braves first four games

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The Braves have started the season as about as well as anyone in Braves Country could have hoped. They came just short of sweeping the Phillies on the road, and then took care of business like they should have in Game 1 against the White Sox on Monday. We’re only four games in, and the Braves have already sprinted out to a two-game lead in the NL East with an MLB-leading +22 run differential. But beyond the standings, there have been several encouraging signs pointing at this year potentially being a special one in Atlanta.

Jarred Kelenic is going to be just fine

One of the storylines of Spring Training was Jarred Kelenic struggling at the plate, but he ended the Spring on fire and that’s continued into the regular season. Kelenic has started three of the Braves four games, racking up six hits in 11 at-bats (.545 batting average) with a 1.220 OPS. He’s also made several really high quality defensive plays in left field. The combination of Kelenic and Adam Duvall as a platoon is going to be a strength for the Braves this season, not a weakness.

The Braves rotation has come as advertised

The Braves rotation hasn’t been perfect through four games, but the depth is already flexing its muscles. Charlie Morton is the team’s fourth starter, and he held the White Sox scoreless over 5.2 innings on Monday with six strikeouts. Chris Sale was very good in his Braves debut, and Spencer Strider was equally as impressive. The only hiccup came from Max Fried, who struggled with his control in his first start of the season, failing to make it out of the first inning. However, his line would have looked a lot different had he not been on the wrong end of some blatantly obvious missed calls. Plus, it’s Max Fried; nobody should be wondering what to expect from him as long as he can stay healthy. He’s been one of the most consistently great pitchers in the game over the last half-decade.

All-Star Orlando Arcia?

Just as everyone expected, Orlando Arcia has been arguably the best offensive player for the Braves through the first four games. He’s hitting .438 with a league-leading four doubles, good for a 1.158 OPS. Despite representing the NL All-Star team a year ago, Arcia was still viewed by most, including myself, as the team’s weakest link. However, he’s proving early on that he’s a more than capable starting shortstop.

The Braves bullpen is deep… and filthy

Alex Anthopoulos didn’t mess around this winter, bolstering both the rotation and bullpen. The latter of which stole most of the show against the Phillies. Brian Snitker has the luxury of turning to any of his eight relievers in just about any situation. Jesse Chavez, Tyler Matzek, and Dylan Lee are all returning from significant injuries and have looked fantastic to begin the season. On top of that, there are a few more options waiting in the minors for an opportunity in case somebody struggles or an injury arises. It truly is an embarrassment of riches.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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