Atlanta Braves Lineup
The Atlanta Braves accomplished something significant on Friday. Mark Bowman who covers the team for MLB.com had the news first on Twitter.
The Braves now lead MLB with nine double-digit run totals this year. They entered the day tied with the Padres.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) September 19, 2020
The fact that the Braves surpassed the San Diego Padres in that category is significant. Both teams have an equally potent offense, but the Braves can really pile on runs in key situations during a game. Entering play on Friday, the Braves were batting .268/.344/.479 on the season. Furthermore, Braves hitters combined for the fourth-highest Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) at (.321) and the fifth-highest Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) value (117) in all of baseball to date.
While the Braves have struggled from a starting rotation standpoint, the offense is really what has carried them so far. At the start of play Friday, Atlanta occupied first place in the National League East with a 29-21 record. If the postseason started today, the Braves would have the third seed and square off against the Cincinnati Reds in the first round.
While it’s important to understand the surface-level numbers that make the Braves offense so potent, it’s also important to examine whose been so impactful for Atlanta this year. That will be done in the proceeding paragraphs.
Lineup Full of Stars
It’s fair to say that the Atlanta Braves have a very strong lineup that is full of stars. At any moment, any one of the hitters one through nine can do something impactful to change the game. However, there have been two very impactful players in the Braves lineup to date: first baseman Freddie Freeman and left fielder Adam Duvall.
Entering Friday, Freeman led the team in batting average (.352), RBI (46), on-base percentage (.465), and total hits (63). In fact, he has made such an impact that he has a legitimate shot at winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award this year. Although, it still doesn’t seem like he is getting the national coverage that he deserves.
Beyond Freeman, the aforementioned Adam Duvall has been very good as well. On the year, Duvall is batting .255/.311/.595 over 48 games. To date, Duvall has 15 home runs which currently leads the entire National League along with a .255 BABIP. While he has cooled down a bit as of late, he is still someone that opposing teams should fear.
The Valuable One-Year Bargain
Last offseason, the Braves agreed to a one-year, $18 million dollar contract with outfielder Marcell Ozuna in free agency. Ozuna has certainly been more than just a supporting member of Atlanta’s lineup. In fact, he could even be in the conversation for the NL MVP Award as well with the numbers he has put up.
Going into play on Friday over the span of 220 plate appearances, Ozuna had a .314/.400/.592 slash line. In that span, the 29-year old had 60 hits, 11 doubles, 14 home runs, 44 RBI, 28 walks, and 52 strikeouts. After having a down season in 2019, it seems as though he has really bounced back in a big way. It could simply be due to a change of scenery or something else, but whatever it is it’s certainly working for Ozuna and the Braves.
In the end, the Braves might not have the most dominating starting rotation on paper at the moment. However, their offense is the hallmark of their season and tonight they accomplished something very significant. As the postseason nears, opposing teams need to prepare themselves for the damage that the Braves lineup can do in a number of different key situations.
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