A lot of Braves fans weren’t feeling great about the season after Marcell Ozuna was arrested on domestic violence charges, Mike Soroka re-tore his achilles, and Ronald Acuña Jr. was shelved after a torn ACL. This team was without arguably three of their five or seven best players, and the Dodgers loomed over them once again. As Los Angeles added Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, and others, the Braves made some moves that could be seen as average at best. Yes, they were upgrades, but most fans were happy because the pieces the Braves gave up were seen as not very crucial going forward. Now, they could have given up every Top 30 prospect in the system and the deals would have been worth it.
Three different deals at the Trade Deadline brought the #Braves the NL RBI leader, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP.
I don't know what Alex Anthopoulos can possibly do for an encore to that performance. It armed this club for a world title.
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) November 3, 2021
The next time a middling team doesn't make any moves at the trade deadline, this Braves team is the reminder that all it takes at that point is the willingness to add payroll to improve a team. Soler+Rosario+Duvall+Pederson. May not cost them any prospect they regret trading.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) November 3, 2021
They were 52-55 on Aug. 1st.
They were 5 GB in the division.
They lost 3 All-Stars midseason.
They put together a new outfield at the trade deadline.
They had the 12th-best regular season record in baseball.
The Atlanta Braves are World Series Champions. pic.twitter.com/dUJ4suGMPt
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 3, 2021
It all began with Joc Pederson, who multiple teammates have credited with bringing energy back to a clubhouse that had gotten a little down in the dumps. If you haven’t read Pederson’s Player’s Tribune piece, I encourage you to check it out. Of course, the Braves brought back old friend Adam Duvall. Outside of his monster Grand Slam in Game 5 of the World Series, Duvall was relatively quiet in the postseason compared to his monster regular season. Even if he didn’t make the impact that the next two guys did, he was a driving force in getting the Braves to the postseason.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 1, 2021
Next, we have the two men of the hour. Your NLCS MVP and World Series MVP — Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler. I was pretty fond of Eddie Rosario when the Braves traded for him, especially with only Pablo Sandoval going back in return. Rosario had been one of the more steady players in baseball over his career, and even though he was having a down year, I absolutely loved the value that he brought to Atlanta. He showed off his skill set pretty quickly, hitting for the cycle on the fewest amount of pitches in MLB history.
EDDIE ROSARIO HAS HIT FOR THE CYCLE GET THAT MAN HIS BASEBALL pic.twitter.com/RCO0Al8OwB
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) September 19, 2021
He then followed it up with an NLCS to remember, earning MVP by slashing .560/.607/1.040/1.647 with a double, triple, three home runs, and nine runs batted in against the Dodgers. Oh, and this incredible walk off:
THE BRAVES GOT EDDIE ROSARIO FOR A DUGOUT MASCOT!!
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 18, 2021
Last but most certainly not least is Jorge Soler. The World Series MVP was hitting .192 with the Royals when the Braves acquired him, but that didn’t matter when he got to Atlanta. Even serving as a leadoff hitter at times, Soler displayed some of the most incredible power you will ever see. Exhibit A:
490 feet or statcast is a liar pic.twitter.com/8v2Lkg9BA2
— World Series Champion Jake (@cantguardjake) November 3, 2021
Soler slashed .300/.391/.800/1.191 with a double and three home runs in the World Series. He had more home runs than the entire Houston Astros team had in the series combined. There’s no doubt he’s a contract extension candidate.
This isn’t even considering guys that have been hidden gems like Tyler Matzek, or the patience Anthopoulos showed with Austin Riley as he posted an MVP-level season. This 88-win team won the whole thing largely because of the way they have been constructed over the years. The players and coaches deserve a ton of credit, but when compared to other general managers, nobody comes close to Alex Anthopoulos.