15 July, 2023
The Atlanta Braves have a chance to set records as the MLB season enters its second half.
With the greatest record in all of baseball at 60-29 and a pace for 109 victories, the squad went into the All-Star break. The 2001 Seattle Mariners’ record-breaking 116-win season was just seven wins away at that point. Do we believe the Braves will surpass that fantastic goal? Not at all. The team’s domination is still impressive, though. Here is a statistical snapshot of Atlanta’s outstanding 2023 season.
Even by the high standards that the Braves have set for themselves in their illustrious past, this season stands out. For starters, they tied the record for the quickest time in team history to achieve 60 wins by winning 88 games in a row. The most shocking thing about this is because the teams they tied weren’t even known as the Braves at the time. To reach that milestone, we must go all the way back to the Boston Beaneaters of 1893 and 1884, who later changed their name to the Atlanta Braves.
Another statistic here also reminds me of the Beaneaters of the 1800s: the Braves enter the second half of the season among the top three teams in the MLB in win percentage, home runs, and run differential. It will be the first time the franchise has done so since the 1897 Beaneaters if they end up dominating in each of those categories. That Beaneaters team led all of baseball in home runs with 45, just to give you an idea of how much the game has changed since the 19th century.
When it comes to home runs, the Braves are hitting them out of the park at an unprecedented rate. At the All-Star break, they had 169 home runs, three more than the 2019 Minnesota Twins, who were second. With 307 points overall, the Twins team set a new MLB record. The Braves are expected to reach 307,6. With 29 home runs, Matt Olson leads the team and is three behind Shohei Ohtani for the most in MLB.
Before this season, Ronald Acuna Jr. was already among the most thrilling players in baseball, and he has increased the tempo. The right fielder is second in the league in stolen bases with 41, despite being caught just seven times. He is third on the team with 21 home runs. The fastest anyone has ever done so in MLB history, he reached the 20 HR/40 SB mark in 84 games. It took Rickey Henderson 90 games to set the previous mark during his illustrious 1990 season, so you can imagine how incredible that is.
Acuna, who has had a 30-30 season in 2019, might become the first Braves player with multiple 30-30 seasons, joining Ron Gant. He may even hit 40-40, something that hasn’t occurred in Major League Baseball since Alfonso Soriano achieved it in 2006.
But it doesn’t mean the Braves win games by simply outslugging their opponents. With an ERA of 3.63, they lead the league. Only five teams in the last century have finished first in both OPS and ERA; one of those teams was the 1927 New York Yankees, who had 60 home runs in the season thanks to Babe Ruth. The Yankees were one of the three of those five teams that went on to win the World Series. We’ll watch to see if the Braves can maintain their historically fast pace and advance to the fourth.