Two Braves make MLB’s August All-Star team

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August was a good month for the Braves. Following all the acquisitions they made at the trade deadline, they flipped the script in the NL East and went from trailing the Mets by four games to leading the division by 2.5 games over the Phillies and 5.5 games over the Mets. Pretty remarkable, considering they’ve done all of this without arguably their best player, Ronald Acuña Jr.

The trade deadline acquisitions have been highly impactful, but none of this would be possible without two potential stars of the future emerging — Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson. They have been the engine to this Braves offense over the last couple of months, even more so than Freddie Freeman, leading to one of the best records in baseball last month. It also resulted in individual accolades, as Riley and Swanson were selected to MLB’s August All-Star team.

I’ve talked about it a couple of times this week, but Austin Riley isn’t just on a tear in August — he’s a legitimate MVP candidate. Entering last night’s contest, the Braves’ third baseman was hitting .356 with 14 homers since the All-Star break — good for a 1.077 OPS. That’s a 41-game sample size, which isn’t anything to sneeze at, but this is really something that’s been a trend since the middle of April. Riley has become one of the best third basemen in the game, and it might not be long before we are talking about him as one of the premier players overall.

Riley isn’t alone, though. If it weren’t for Swanson’s putrid couple of months to begin the season, he’d also be getting some MVP love. Over his last 88 games, Swanson is hitting .294 with 20 homers, leading to an .895 OPS — all while playing fantastic defense at arguably the most important position on the diamond. A few months ago, Braves fans were calling for his job; now, they’ll be begging for him to sign an extension this offseason.

The Braves have built some cushion in the NL East, but they are not out of the woods yet. The Phillies are right on their heels and have the easiest schedule in baseball remaining. Atlanta needs to take care of business down the stretch and to do so, Riley and Swanson will have to continue to lead the way.


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