The Athletic released their power rankings ahead of the final week of the season, and as they always do, they had a new theme for this week, giving an award to each team. The Braves have owned the top spot for months now in these power rankings, and the award given to them is fitting.
Last Power Ranking: 1
Commissioner’s Trophy: Awarded to the team that wins the World Series
Look, the postseason is a crapshoot. Weird stuff can happen. Hey, remember that time the 83-win Cardinals won it all in 2006? And so on and so forth. You all know the caveats. But the Braves look primed to blast through this coming October like a wrecking ball. You like a balanced attack? Atlanta leads the sport in collective batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. You like star power? Ronald Acuña Jr. might win National League MVP. Spencer Strider has a chance to win the Cy Young Award. The Braves have it all. It will be up to the rest of the sport to stop them this postseason. — Andy McCullough
The best team in baseball doesn’t always win, and the injury to Charlie Morton undoubtedly makes the Braves more vulnerable in October. With that being said, this lineup was created in a video game. Every starter has more than 17+ homers, and they have four guys with more than 35 long balls. Any team can go through a slump at the wrong time, but it’s a lot more difficult for a lineup as balanced and relentless as the Braves. They are the World Series favorites for a reason.
Braves fans should appreciate those words from Andy McCullough, but they won’t appreciate these ones from Grant Brisbee.
Last Power Ranking: 4
Mookie Betts Award for being the Most Valuable Player in Baseball (The Mookie Award): Self-explanatory
Sure, Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson have arguments, too, but all of them were plug-and-play talents. Hey, you, Freddie and Matt, go play first base and sock dingers. Hey, you, Ronald, go run around the bases, hit a bunch of dingers and zip around the outfield. Good work, all.
Betts was the only one here who was capable of filling in at a strange position because it helped the team. He played almost as many games at second base as in the outfield, and he even picked up more than a handful of starts at short.
The best player in baseball? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s not the question before us.
The most valuable player in the National League this season? Not sure how you can argue that he isn’t, considering the circumstances. — Grant Brisbee
I’m not sure why some people are still trying to push the Mookie Betts narrative for MVP, but it’s not happening. At the time of this writing, Acuña is an overwhelming favorite to take home the award, as he should be.
Acuña leads the league in hits, runs, on-base percentage, OPS, and OPS+. He also has a batting average 30 points higher, two more homers and has stolen 54 more bases than Betts. Acuña isn’t just hitting dingers and running fast. He’s been better than Betts, and it showed when the two teams met just a few weeks ago. Ronald Acuña Jr. was the best player on the field. He’s made history, and he will take home the NL MVP award.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire