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Set on a journey through the stars to answer humanity's greatest mystery of all. Starfield is available now on select platforms, for all, into the Starfield. Visit www.starfieldgame.com to learn more and buy now. Rated M for Mature To my core, I'm a baseball fan. We don't talk a ton of big league baseball here. We don't have a big league baseball team in town. But I follow it, and I am the rare Mets fan that I look at the Braves somewhat in envy, somewhat in awe, somewhat in, huh, that's the way you do it right.
You either draft well, change your mind, or you're in the right place. Trade well, scout well, and take care of the players that have made you, with the exception being maybe Freddie Freeman. But that worked out for them, because Olson and everybody else that they brought in have been dynamite. And they have 47 losses as we bring in Grant McCauley, who covers the Braves for 92-9 the game, also from the Diamond Podcast. They could wrap up a playoff spot by Friday.
Grant, that is crazy. Yeah, it's been a pretty crazy year overall for this club. When you have the expectations that they did, where, you know, 100 wins is in play, you're imagining that there could be quite a three team race with what the Mets did last year. And of course, the Phillies going all the way to the World Series.
I think we all probably envisioned the NLEs looking a little bit different. But the way 2023 has played out, and particularly offensively, the pitching staff has done more than enough. But the Braves offense has really been driving this thing for quite some time, and it appears to be driving them directly.
Directly towards a six consecutive National League East title, and of course, much bigger hopes for what October can hold. Let me just put in perspective the offense for the Braves. They have 263 home runs right now. Last year, I think the Blue Jays led the league in home runs with 262. We still have like 25 games left in the season. The Braves are averaging almost a home run and a half per game.
So there's that. Their slugging percentage as a team is 501. As a team, that is about 50 points higher, almost 50 points higher than the second best team this year.
It's basic. It's almost 60 points higher than the Braves slugging percentage was a year ago. We're talking about monumental numbers. Yeah, I mean, and this is just it's not a one dimensional offense either. I mean, we can talk about the home runs and we could probably spend the rest of our time going into all the different stats that bear out exactly why this offense is, you know, so powerful. But they've also gone from being the club that struck out the second most times in Major League Baseball last year, second out of all 30 teams with nearly 1500 strikeouts to dropping down to 24th, 25th in the league in strikeouts this year. So when you think about where did that extra damage come from in terms of batting average on base percentage, slugging percentage, O.P.S., all of those things that all add up to typically more success when you've got a higher team average in all of those categories. Plus these home runs, then you start to really understand how, you know, truly not two dimensional, maybe three dimensional, four dimensional. I don't know what it is.
4D chess, I think, is a game that some folks like to play online. Maybe that's what the Braves are playing with the rest of Major League Baseball. But they have a sizable lead in multiple different categories, offensively speaking. And if you're looking for the history that they could make as an offense before the year is over, they're on pace for 310 home runs. That would eclipse the Minnesota Twins record set in 2019, which was a juice ball year. In fact, the top four home run totals by a team in baseball history all came in 2019, as did the Braves pre-existing single season record.
They've already broken that. And like you said, there's 25 games left. And this is the club that, you know, it just seems to be showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to the slugging. And that's something that, you know, as we know how October can look and the importance of being able to match pitching for pitching, this is an offense that just hits a little bit different than most other offenses in baseball.
Yeah, because they have different ways to beat you. And I know Major League Baseball changed some rules. So I tweeted out or quote tweeted somebody who was talking about Ronald Acuna, who went over 60 stolen bases, got more than 60 stolen bases, more than 30 home runs.
It's just ridiculous. He is essentially a better version of Eric Davis. So people who are of my age remember how dynamic a player Davis was a better version of Daryl Strawberry.
And they were childhood friends. And Acuna, Acuna is a better version, I think, of Eric Davis. And this guy came back and be like, oh, but it's easier to steal bases.
Yeah, but he's got 60 something of them. And the only reason why he didn't have 60 something stolen bases before was because the stolen base had been phased out of the sport because of analytics. But now that it's a little bit easier to steal bases, we're like, yeah, let's have at it. I mean, this guy's talent, he's got to be the most talented guy in the league other than maybe Shohei Ohtani. Yeah, I mean, there's a Shohei Ohtani category and clearly some news has come out with for him the last couple of weeks.
It kind of, you know, takes the shine off of that. But in terms of just an overall hitter and a five tool player, I think this is really how you draw him up. And with the stolen bases, it's interesting because I understand that, you know, it's not just one staff that makes up somebody's MVP case typically. I mean, you can chase a single season home run record, I guess, and that's going to get you a lot of publicity.
But Acuna, it's, you know, he has cut his strikeout rate in half from a year ago. The stolen bases. Yeah, I would say that, you know, if stolen bases were so much easier this year, then why are some of these other guys stealing 40, 50, 60 bags? Nobody else is doing it this way. So I think that it's kind of, you know, at the very least, split the difference between changing the rules and also just recognizing that the talent and the determination to go out and do something like that is something that not everybody has.
I mean, honestly, not to be repetitive, but I'm going to. The reason why stolen bases have fallen out of favor is because the analytics tell us that we don't even want to risk being thrown out if you're trying to steal. And, you know, it's it's obviously been made a little bit easier because of the pitch clock and limits to throwing over to first base and all of that. I don't think it has anything to do with the length of the bases.
It's only a total of six inches on the those two ends and maybe six inches makes a difference sometimes, but not very often. It's simply it is a little bit easier. But if we put Ronald Acuna, if we dropped him into 1985, he'd have the same numbers, maybe not as many home runs, but he'd have the same stolen base numbers. Yeah. And you brought up Eric Davis. And I think that that's a comp that and really early Barry Bonds when he started to put everything together in 1991, his first MVP award. That's the kind of player that we're talking about somebody can hit 30 to 40 home runs, but also steal 40 50 60 bases.
I mean, he's got a chance Acuna does here in the last 25 games with what nine more steals to break the Braves modern record of 72 that was set back in 1991. But to your point is a totally different era of baseball. You still saw guys trying to steal 60 and 70 bases back in the 90s. It just has not happened that often here in the the aughts and of course the 20 teams and even into the 2020s because teams were so risk-averse to giving away any out, even though guys would get thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles doubles in the triple thrown at home plate. All those things were still happening. But for some reason the stolen base was the one they circled and said we're not going to let this one happen.
And I've never really understood that to be honest. I'm glad that the analytics has taken away the sacrifice. But I think the sacrifice bun is a scourge on Humanity, but I hate that it is really taken away the stolen base until this year. So that is back in the Braves have more than a hundred as a team. You don't see slugging teams stealing bases almost at one per game.
All right, so Grant McCauley from 92 nine the game and fro and from the diamond podcast. Tell me give me an Achilles heel of Atlanta something that needs to get better or maybe worries you as we enter the last three and a half weeks of the season. I think if you'd ask me this question about three and a half weeks ago or really right after the trade deadline, maybe the starting pitching was starting to give people some worries. But then Max Reed came back.
Yep. He has looked good in his return. I mean, you're still I think rounding into form. If you're Max Reed and you've been forced to take three months off in the middle of the season. They have the opportunity to get Kyle right back. He looked very good in his third rehab start last night in a couple of weeks.
He could be back in this mix in the middle of this month at the earliest perhaps but then Spencer Striders putting together. I think it's a Cy Young worthy campaign. Anyway, Charlie Morton has looked extremely good as last few starts and Bryce elders figured it out. So the starting pitching I got a lot less questions about that particularly when you get right back in the mix because the Braves have gone through the course of 2023 essentially having to patchwork together not one but two spots of their rotation and they're still the first team in baseball to 90 wins.
They have the best record in the game by six full games over the Los Angeles Dodgers who if we were, you know, being honest of watching them the last month. He kind of wondered when they were going to lose a game then the Braves got there and went three out of four. So I don't know that there's one thing that I would look at and say well this group or that group or this player or that position but health like anything else is the thing that can change the trajectory of clubs, you know, just on a dime and it happened to the Braves last year Max Fried got sick Spencer Striders trained in oblique and all of a sudden the Braves team that won 101 games and took the National League East for the Mets. They ran into a Phillies Club that got hot and they were underpowered the Braves were they didn't hit much in that series either. So no excuses the Phillies were the better team in that five game set, but the Braves I think at the end of the season had to look back and say man that wasn't a great time for an injury. Not that there really is ever a great time for injury or two. Yeah, but the truth of the matter is that anybody can beat anybody when we get to the playoffs. It's just baseball.
The margins are very very small during the regular season anyway, but when you get to the postseason and everything is just a little bit more jacked up anybody can beat anybody but man if I were a betting man and we might then the Braves are the odds-on favorite again magic number of five to wrap up a playoff spot with we might be able to do this before before we even hit Saturday. Grant McCauley 92 9 the game and from the diamond podcast. I appreciate your time and we'll talk again. Absolutely look forward to it. Thanks for having you got it. Grant McCauley from Atlanta covering the Braves.
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