Don’t look now but the Atlanta Braves have reached first place in the division since…well…it’s been a while. Atlanta United FC haven’t lost a match since March 3rd. The Falcons reeled in a solid draft class and look to be poised to potentially be the first team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl at home! Needless to say the city of Atlanta Sports are on the rise…so…let’s…you know…#RiseUp for ALL Atlanta teams. The Hawks can come too.
The Braves currently sit atop the NL East with a 19-14 record coming off being swept. They’ve done it with a lot of young and new faces. 3rd Base has been a committee rule with young guy Johan Camargo (24, 2 HR, .548 SLG) and 31 year old Ryan Flaherty (.310 AVG, 2 HR). Left field had been held down by Preston Tucker (27, .272 AVG, 3 HR) while Ronald Acuña Jr. waited in the wings in Triple A. Even Nick Markakis has been having a career year right now hitting .344, 6 HRs, and 20 RBI’s.
Since gaining momentum with our bats and looking like an unstoppable force, the Braves have added some exciting players to mix to keep building into the season. Starting with Jose Bautista. Many people thought this was an unnecessary acquisition and only time will tell, but adding a guy with 331 HR and knocking in 927 RBIs for his career adds to the wildly optimistic potential for this season.
Ronald Acuña Jr was called up April 25th in a day which was dubbed #AcuñaPalooza. Since starting out 1-5 in his debut he has amassed a .367 avg, 15 hits, 5 doubles, 2 HR, and 5 RBI, in only 11 games. Acuña is everything that’s been hyped so far. Not only does his bat have power but he has the speed to rack up extra base hits, steal bases (1) and can move around the bases to score runs, which he’s scored 7 times in 11 games! The excitement is real and definitely a guy that looks to be in a Brave uniform for a long time.
Finally, I can’t talk about the Braves’ excitement without mentioning our #MVP of 2018, Ozzie Albies. Albies was another one of the young guys that filled scouts and fans with excitement. We saw what he was able to do last year while earning his first starting role with the club and boy has he been productive. Albies currently sits 6th in the MLB in HR’s (10), 3rd in Doubles (13), 2nd in Runs Scored (33), while also knocking in 24 runs and holding a .285 AVG. It would be hard to see the Braves having such a strong season this year without Albies in the lineup. Albies was robbed of the NL Player of the Month honors…just had to say that. He has the making to be the next Braves’ superstar.
If the young arms can develop like the young bats have then the future the Braves are building is as bright as the sun. Many didn’t like the move to Cobb but there’s no denying this is a new era for the team. A new era that starts with the facilities and features of the new ballpark, while rounding out with the new faces on the team.
Gone are the days of Chipper, Andruw, Maddox, Smoltz, Glavine, and Cox. Here now are the days of Freeman, Acuña, Albies, and Snitker. More guys are on the way but these few guys are the cornerstones for the future Braves and I’m excited to see where they take us.