We’ve been kicking around this question since the Atlanta Braves traded Jason Heyward last fall, and we’re still kicking. So, boats against this current, are the Braves themselves, who would have risen above .500 for the first time since June 1 had they held a four-run lead in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
This was a team that some — I was among that number — believed could lose 100 games. They’re on pace to finish 80-82, which would actually be an upgrade from last season’s 79-83. That’s if they don’t slump before the trading deadline and start dumping players like Cameron Maybin, of whom we were speaking just the other day.
FanGraphs sees them at 77-85, which would leave them 12 games behind the Nationals and three behind the Mets. (At the moment, the Braves trail the former by 4 1/2 and the latter by 1 1/2.) Baseball Prospectus sees them losing 44 of their final 77 games, which would mean 75-87.
FanGraphs assesses the Braves’ playoff chances at 3.1 percent, down from 3.8 yesterday. (Put another way, 3.1 percent is a lesser chance than FanGraphs’ numbers assign any of the 15 American League teams.)
In today’s AJC, I note that these Braves, after 85 games, are as exactly as far behind the Nats as the ’91 Braves were behind the Dodgers in the worst-to-first year. I also concede that I don’t see what happened then happening now. But honesty compels me to note that I didn’t see these Braves being within a game of .500 after more than a half a season.
Enough buildup. To the question: What’s a reasonable finish for these Braves? Here’s a poll. Vote your conscience.