FanPost

Braves' previous Achilles heel now MLB's best


2011 was a pretty poor year for the Braves outfield, as the team collectively earned just 6.7 WAR from the entirety of their outfielders.

With Martin Prado mired in a post-staph infection slump, the tandem of Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer providing little value and Jason Heyward battling injuries and mechanical issues at the plate, the team clearly underperformed the expectations set forth prior to the beginning of the 2011 season. Michael Bourn provided a little boost at the trade deadline, but also performed slightly below expectations in the final half of the season.

That's not the case this season, as the Braves' starting three collectively have the most WAR among all MLB starting outfields, already eclipsing last year's total with 7.1 WAR through 51 games.

The Rangers have the best overall OF WAR (as they have better depth at the position) and the Dodgers' collection of OFs equals the Braves OF WAR totals, but when it comes to the starting three, the Braves are king.

While not the best at the plate (collectively ninth in wRC+), the Braves have accumulated the best OF UZR in the league, by better than three runs. Atlanta's also been very good on the basepaths, with baserunning accounting for 3 runs thru the first third of the season, good for a fifth-place tie.

It's important to note that DRS seems to like the starting three nearly as much as UZR. The Prado/Bourn/Heyward trio have collected a +19 DRS, as opposed to a +22.7 UZR.

While the season's still young and there are many games left to play, the outfield's starting three have been a bright spot that will be counted on as the season progresses.

-C

* - Prado has played 8 games (7 starting) for 62.0 innings at third. While it accounts for a small portion of the season, it is important to note.

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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