Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Two for the Money Mike


The Braves have won 81 games, have 7 starters with over 20 home runs, and three pitchers with 10+ wins and 100+ strikeouts. I'd say they have a chance.

The thing about the Braves is that they have a bunch of guys who've been good the whole year [Acuna, Olson, Strider, Elder, Albies, Arcia], and now we're seeing the ripples of people who've gotten better as we've gone on. Michael Harris started very slow and now is having a perfectly respectable sophomore season, hitting .282 with 39 RBIs, 17 steals and 11 home runs. He's also still an excellent defensive center fielder, so he's still as versatile as he was. It's odd that someone like Harris is a lower-tier lineup guy on a team like the Braves, but the fact that he's still doing incredibly even when the emphasis is more on the central power hitters proves how many Braves are truly killing it right now.

And just added to that list is Eddie Rosario, who's been especially hot recently. In August alone he's hitting .356 with 15 RBIs and 4 homers, bringing his current home run total to 20 and his current RBI total to 63. Rosario has been known for his cold spots but when he's hot, he's horrifying--you all remember how hot he got in October 2021. He's had a similar 2023, where he's been excellent some months and average in others, but it's building towards a relatively respectable overall year for the veteran outfield bat. Between Rosario and Marcell Ozuna, who's at least gonna leave here with a 25+ homer year, they're getting a lot out of guys whose contracts they thought were losses.

Even better, though Ozzie Albies will be out for a short while, both Vaughn Grissom and Nicky Lopez have been excellent at covering for him. Lopez is hitting .407 with 11 hits and 8 RBIs in 10 games since arriving in Atlanta. Grissom is hitting .282 with 7 RBIs in 22 games. I reckon this isn't the audition Grissom wanted for this year, since it's very similar to last year's opportunity and he's got not one but two other guys he's competing with [even if Shewmake's still in the minors]. So even despite that, the lineup is still pretty awesome. And with Max Fried back and healthy, as well as Jared Shuster being a decent enough fifth option, the rotation is still in excellent shape.

...heading into the last month of the season, I'm not seeing many flaws in this team.

I mean, as I discussed yesterday, the biggest and baddest teams don't always survive to the World Series anymore, especially since they made the playoffs longer and gave teams more opportunities to lose momentum. The Braves have so much momentum right now that it scares me that they won't be able to hold onto it either. It certainly happened last year, and it's worth asking what they'll do to ensure it won't happen again. The team is better, yes, but we don't know who'll show up once the games start to really matter. 

Of anyone right now, the Braves are in the best position to repeat as World Series champion only a couple years after their last win. All it takes is for them to follow it through.

Coming Tomorrow- This season he was the designated backup catcher and injured for several months. Didn't stop him from outdoing most of the team in the hitting department, though.

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