Expectations were not entirely high for most in regards to the Atlanta Braves 2018 campaign. Atlanta features a roster filled with young talented players and veterans to compliment them. At the start of the season their roster appeared to be one year away from putting a watchable product on the field. However it appears that they have arrived a year early and are putting on a display offensively. In fact they are at or near the top of most offensive categories.
Few expected the Braves to lead MLB in runs through eight games but that is exactly what they are doing. Entering Sunday Atlanta has soared 58 times for an average of 7.25 runs per game. It is relatively easy to win games when an offense puts up over seven runs per game and that is just what the Braves are doing. Winning games.
As a team the Braves are slashing .291/.375/.465 with a .840 OPS. Atlanta leads MLB in batting average and on-base percentage and ranks third in slugging and fourth in OPS. Contributions from Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, Ryan Flaherty, Preston Tucker and Nick Markakis. Atlanta ranks 16th in home runs with eight. However the Braves are second in doubles with 21. Freeman and Flaherty lead the team with four. These extra-base hits are driving in runs and allowing the Braves to build a lead.
Perhaps a surprise is the performance of Tucker. Tucker has seen action over the past two seasons but was relatively unimpressive. However his start to this season appears to show improvement over his past experiences at the big league level. Slashing .385/.414/.692 with a 1.106 OPS, these numbers are due to drop a bit but it is encouraging to see improvement when compared to previous seasons. Tucker is second on the team in RBI with nine.
Through eight games Atlanta already has five players with 10 hits or more. Freeman, Tucker and Markakis each have 10, Swanson has 11 and Flaherty leads the team with 12. With how often the Braves are putting the ball in play and getting hits it is obvious why they are one of the league’s best offenses to start the season. Constantly getting hits and putting pressure on the opposing pitcher is instrumental in winning a game. A task that Atlanta struggled with a lot last season.
As long as the Braves continue to perform offensively they will allow their pitcher to pitch with a lead and less pressure. A group like their players in the field, is a mix of young talented players and veterans who have been around for a while. But that is a different story for a different day.