The Atlanta Braves – the best team in baseball

“Psst. I hear you’re going to Arizona.” (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

"Keep it quiet, but we're undefeated." (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

“Keep it quiet, but we’re undefeated.” (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Yeah, I’m surprised, and no, I don’t think it will last. (Let’s note that they started 17-7 last season. In no sport do the words “small sample size” resonate more than baseball.) And the Atlanta Braves aren’t the only 3-0 team out there: The Colorado Rockies are likewise undefeated, and they’re not expected to do much of anything, either.

Still: Credit where it’s due. The Braves have played three games without losing. Four days ago, I’d have guessed they were more apt to play three games without winning. But pitching can make any team look good, and the Braves still have pitching, at least at the top of the rotation.

They’ve won three games, having yielded a total of three runs. (If memory serves, that’s the way April 2014 — the entire month — went.) They’ve won one game 2-1 and another 2-0. They won the third when Mat Latos, who can be hyper, yielded seven runs while retiring two Braves.

Again, it’s a small sample size. But again, this would appear to be the Braves’ template. They’re not apt to score many runs. Their pitchers will have to work a quality start nearly every game for this team to have a chance. And without the peerless Craig Kimbrel on the back end, the bullpen won’t be as good. Yes, these relievers have done the job so far, but we say once more: It’s a long season.

But enough raining on the parade down Peachtree Street. The Braves are 3-0. They’re play the next six at home. Maybe this grit-and-gravitas stuff will work over 162 games. (Although I’d suggest that pitching has way more to do with 3-0 than grit and gravitas. This is baseball, after all.)

Oh, one thing more: As for the flying start proving that the Braves’ new/old front office aced the offseason … well, I’d say it’s way too early to know that, too. Indeed, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports today poses the question posed here a while back: Was all the rebuilding really necessary?

Reader Comments 0

60 comments
GWJ0525
GWJ0525

I'll take a road sweep against anyone anytime, be it April, June or September. A good start is sure better than a bad one especially for a team trying to establish chemistry and identity.

AABraves
AABraves

Questioning the rebuild is either silliness or just pandering to the home crowd that doesn't know better..Wren secured a younger core of players which seemed to make some sense. However, with no payroll flexibility and no farm system. Who is going to plug in the gaping holes to continue a competitive team?? This is at best a small to mid market franchise now so its not like we were going to out and sign big free agents to help us compete with the rest of the division...Timing is everything. While that young core is still young. Rebuild the farm and get the payroll flexibility again. In my mind  we should have started the rebuild under Wren as it was pretty obvious with the existing talent it was going to be one and done in the playoffs at best. Winning is great but the Braves fans deserve a few championships too...

braves1996
braves1996

Does anyone from the AJC ever check for spelling or grammar?

GT71
GT71

Let's do a re-check June 1st.  But so far, it does appear these Braves are quite a bit different than the 'old' Braves.

Seems they've bought in to the small ball, ABC, old-school game.

Still say they'll be better than MB, ESPN and most other mavens think.

May wind up winning 80 games.

But then, maybe 60.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

What a pleasant surprise. By now, I thought I would have been able to post a "I told you so" analysis regarding their losses, but I am glad I was wrong. Hope they can be competitive throughout the season.

ComaToes
ComaToes

Now that is one more funny headline.  Somebody be on something or dreaming !

Wilbo
Wilbo

@PalmBeachFalcon


Most people have "already heard" about the Braves sweep in Florida, the Masters and most of the other happenings in sports.


Should these 2 useless sacks of dung then not write about them either since we have "already heard"?


Maybe Shooltzee and Brat Li could do recipe columns. I do a really good cornbread. They could feature that first day. What can you cook? Sounds like you'd be ready to gobble up a baked Kimbrel tirdpie! 

Jupiter_Jim
Jupiter_Jim

@Wilbo  Most people that follow sports in the south have already heard.  For someone as old as yourself, you sure do a lot of name calling.

VegasDawg
VegasDawg

Mark..I'm a Bradley reader since the 80's..really have enjoyed your work...To the point..last years Braves team was awful to watch, I said this to my wife on more than one occasion, so any change is appreciated.

Now tell me what Mark Bradley would have done this past off-season to improve the team, and build for the future.

GT71
GT71

@VegasDawg  If columnists could play the games, coach the teams, they'd be doing it.  Writing about sports is what you do when you can't do it for real.  The Lords of Vicariousness.

And other than 'Art History' or 'Sociology' it's the easiest and least productive slide through college you can find.

C. Diff
C. Diff

The boys are out there having fun! Let 'em have at it! If it lasts all season, wonderful! If it doesn't, wonderful! It's baseball. 

eagle9857
eagle9857

Let's look at it this way — with Heyward, Upton (both of them), and Gattis last year, the Braves ranked 29th in runs scored, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and RBI, 28th in doubles and total bases, 26th in hits and batting average, 24th in on-base percentage, 23rd in homeruns, had the fourth most strikeouts, and were last in sacrifices.


Even with all of the power of those players, the Braves still had one of the worst offenses in baseball. So, with this offense, what's really going to be different from last year? The Braves were successful with great pitching during their division title run. It's time to get back to Braves baseball with dominant pitching and that's what this team is going to have moving forward.

Will Celmer
Will Celmer

@eagle9857 I couldn't agree with you more. Since the beginning of the overhaul in Atlanta most "fans" and columnists have talked about how awful this team is going to be. Was last year's team not awful? Last year's team struggled consistently to even make contact. This team is going to do that at the very least which should actually lead to an uptick in offense. The pitching staff is relatively the same which was solid last season. Not having Kimbrel at the back end and Shae Simmons injury hurt, but I don't see why this team can't even possibly be better than last. Just my opinion, but I don't see how anyone who watched last year's miserable Braves offense can think for a second that this offense is so much worse.

unknown911
unknown911

Give em time. Atlanta teams always win before the winning becomes important, then they blow it.

BTC
BTC

Maybe the Marlins are overrated

ComaToes
ComaToes

Don't think Kimbrel has even pitched yet.  May only get to pitch about once a week !

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@ComaToes He has pitched.  Struck out the side in his only appearance.  The Padres will probably be a pretty good team, so he'll get lots of opportunities.

reckingball
reckingball

BTW,......brilliant move by Fredi,......starting the backup catcher in last night's game.

TomGaff
TomGaff

Someone/anyone - How do I remove the little blue rectangular square with the word FOLLOW inside it from the bottom of this blog?? I can not scrole down past it so see all the posts

reckingball
reckingball

@TomGaff Some of these blogs have a little box on the bottom of the comment section, to click for more comments. I suppose it is up to the person that writes the blog, if he wants you to see all of the comments.

parabrave
parabrave

@TomGaff An even better question would be how do I get the old site back.  The same person who designed this website must be the same one who designed the obamacare site.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@parabrave @TomGaff Thanks, sorry to see others have the same issue with the blogs, I guess the liberal AJC folks do not give a da-n about us Fair and Balanced types!!

Glenu
Glenu

As long as they don't strike out I'm in. Last year with runners in scoring position you could expect at least two strike outs, a fly ball with two strike outs was a rally.

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

Why should the question be posed at all. I hated watching last season's team; it was painful waiting for the dinger, speculating which 2 months J Up would perform at AS level, how many Ks we'd have each game, and be depressed at having to watch BJ fail over and over, and hear non-stop banter about El Oso Blanco and where his undeserved statue should be located. Win or lose this season it will be more interesting to watch as it plays out. We finished under .500 last season and haven't won a playoff series in almost 15 seasons. Was there really something to rebuild?  What am I missing here? Oh, and the FF hugging stuff. Hopefully AJ P helped put an end to that nonsense last night. I've never seen a serial hugging team that won anything.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@Maggot_Man What we saw from AJP crossing home plate was a bit of veteran leadership. Last year's team was VERY young and the position-playing veterans were by-and-large unproductive non-contributors. Too many undisciplined young players with too little leadership, and from 2013 through 2014 many of them were developing backwards, or in a downward spiral.  It will be interesting to watch for signs of maturity among Simmons, Freeman, and CJ this year.

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

The best stats so far:  only 6 strikeouts per game so far, and already 10 hits (.435 average) with runners in scoring position, and overall OBP is .342.  We knew the pitching was going to be good, but the change in batting philosophy is key, and it already seems to be working.  I'm not expecting this kind of consistency throughout the year, but it's an optimistic start.

reckingball
reckingball

Ken Rosenthal, DOB, did you watch any of the games last season?

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

@reckingball The biggest differences between last year's team and the 96-win team from 2013: Chris Johnson and the bench.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

Regarding Rosenthal's article, I think the rebuilding was necessary.  I don't think that means Wren really messed things up.  Things just took their course.  They called up a lot of young star players at around the same time and they couldn't afford to keep them all.  In that way, they became a victim of their success.  Perhaps their farm system could have been deeper but producing top talent continually is not easy.  The fact that they produced the young players they did under Wren is impressive, even if it was appropriate to fire Wren and even if the guys that came back into the organization will do even better.

Jupiter_Jim
Jupiter_Jim

Wilbo is upset because I showed him FACTS comparing Kimbrel and Rivera's first 4 years as their team's closer.  3...2....1.....

Wilbo
Wilbo

@PalmBeachFalcon Craig Kimbrel couldn't carry Mariano Rivera's jock strap unless he wore it over his nose for a lunch box.


You happy now? That what you needed to hear?

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@PalmBeachFalcon Palm, you missed a minor detail.......Kimbrel's 4-year #s came in large part from the weakest division in baseball, while MRs, well, I don't need to remind you. The Cards paid Rosenthal 521K to win 2 fewer games than Kimbrel last season. Which economic model makes the most sense for a mid-market team?

Wilbo
Wilbo

@ChuckinAlpharetta @PalmBeachFalcon


Ahhhhhhh, if you enjoy consistency, then you just have to adore the enduring stupidity of the Atlanta sports fan.


My cousin is about 76. Bad arthritis in her fingers. Little bitty. She probably weighs about 115. Her daughter just turned 50. She has some issues I never have understood. Stutters and stumbles a little bit. If I took my football over to their house and challenged them to a little 2 on 1 passing drill, I guaran-damn-tee they wouldn't complete a pass all afternoon!!!


You dumbarses probably think that makes me better than Richard Sherman.


It isn't what you do so much as the platform you do it on. It doesn't matter how or why Mo Rivera got to October and Kimbrel did not, you stupid hick Atlanta losers! What matters is Rivera got there and showed himself to be the BEST OF ALL TIME in the most important setting in baseball. Kimberly to this point has been nothing but another little dude in Loserville.


Craig Kimbrel couldn't carry Mariano Rivera's jock strap unless he wore it over his nose for a lunch box.


Jupiter_Jim
Jupiter_Jim

@Maggot_Man @PalmBeachFalcon Maggot_Man: I am not defending the Kimbrel trade.  I thought it was a great move.  I think the closer position as a whole is an overrated one.  I was responding to Wilbo and comparing the first four years of each closer's career.  That's all we have to go by of Kimbrel.  In those first four years, Kimbrel has been the more dominant pitcher.  If he plays on a team , like the Yankees with an unlimited budget he could put up big postseason numbers too.

gordonguy
gordonguy

@Wilbo @ChuckinAlpharetta @PalmBeachFalcon Uh, last time I checked Rivera was part of a team that got to the playoffs and WS.  He didn't do it himself.  You can denigrate statistics all you want, but you have to remember that Rivera faced his share of weak hitters as well.  And let's not forget blowing the series to the Diamondbacks.  And the Red Sox.

Look, everyone has his or her own favorite ballplayer, and will defend that person no matter what.  Just because you like Rivera better doesn't mean Atlantans are "stupid hicks," it just means you're another irritating northerner.  In the words of lots of commenters before me - "Delta is ready when you are."

satan
satan

Rebuilding was necessary as the team had too many cancers (Heyward..yes Heyward, Both Uptons, Uggla). All four of those guys were uncoachable and trying to get by on talent alone. Guess what..everyone is talented in the majors. That's half the line-up...there is only so much you can do.

Kimbrel was/is the best closer in baseball. However, you can get by with a good closer..a great one is a luxury. This was the only way to get rid of Melvin. Melvin not being in the locker room is worth 2 games a year...

I don't think this team is making the playoffs, but they will be way better than anyone predicted and should make for entertaining baseball.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@satan Actually I think Melvin(aka BJ) not being in the locker room is worth a lot more than 2 games! Perhaps 10-20 games is a better measure?

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@TomGaff @satan I believe there was a lot of resentment due to BJ, his salary, lack of performance, and attitude. I think it is huge getting rid of that cancer.

chris_white1972
chris_white1972

Wilbo... let me just say you have too much time on your hands! As for this team, I love the chemistry. Baseball is 100% chemistry. AJ getting plunked last night and then looking at the dugout, as to send the message, "let's make them pay for this"! Great stuff right there...