This time last year, we were looking back on an Atlanta Braves team that had won 97 games, a second straight division title, but one that had also suffered an unexpected first round upset against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 2020 Braves endured a very difficult season for all of Major League Baseball, captured a third straight division title and finally broke through reaching the NLCS where they ultimately fell to the World Series champion Dodgers. Through a shut down and a restart, it was quite a season. One that I don’t want to have to ever watch again but one that was entertaining at the same time.
Below is a list of our most viewed stories of 2020. Unsurprisingly, the majority of them center on acquisitions or rumors. Thank you to everyone who visited Talking Chop in 2019 and we hope you will be sticking around with us for many more years to come.
I think it is largely forgotten now but the Braves actually signed Marcell Ozuna last January long before the DH had been installed in the National League. The signing was made to plug the hole left after Josh Donaldson’s departure to Minnesota, but it left Atlanta with a crowded outfield situation. Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. were guaranteed to play every day which left Adam Duvall, Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte vying for playing time. Here Cory McCartney took a closer look at what Ozuna’s signing meant for the outfield picture as part of his Starting Nine column.
Demetrius Bell wrote that Ozuna would be a fine addition to the Braves lineup and he could not have been more correct. Ozuna, like Donaldson before him, bet on himself taking a one year deal and turned in a huge season and is one of the bigger name free agents available this winter.
As Nolan Arenado’s situation with the Colorado Rockies deteriorated, there was a lot of discussion online about potential suitors. People connecting dots naturally noticed that the Braves had an opening at third base with Donaldson leaving and the farm system and payroll flexibility that would be needed to acquire Arenado. Daniel Hutchinson-Kausch took a look at three potential trade scenarios in which the Braves could acquire Arenado.
During the shutdown, Gaurav Vedak and Aaron Huston began looking back at past Braves’ draft classes. The 2019 re-draft drew a lot of eyeballs and discussion and is well worth your time.
It is a little surprising to see this article rank this high but I think it shows just how excited everyone was for the 2020 season. I am kind of happy we that at this point, we didn’t know what was coming. Bryse Wilson and Bryce Ball were among Atlanta’s first cuts from the spring. Wilson at this point had not looked good and that was disappointing. However, his 2020 season ended on a bright note with a heck of a performance in the NLCS.
Last offseason was dominated by the Josh Donaldson watch. It was at this point in early January where we found out that the Twins were focusing in on Donaldson and would eventually land him with a huge contract. As disappointing as it was to see Donaldson leave, he ended up appearing in just 28 games for Minnesota in 2020 and missed the postseason entirely.
Now we are getting to the fun stuff. Ronald Acuña Jr. kept hitting home runs against the Miami Marlins and they continued to throw baseballs at him. The last dustup came in Game 1 of the NLDS when Acuña hit a monstrous leadoff home run off of Sandy Alcantara. Acuña came back to the plate in the third inning and was nailed in the hip by Alcantara with a 97 mph heater. The Braves would go on to win the game but they still weren’t happy afterwards and Acuña took to social media where he offered up the quote of the season.
Another fun story was the Braves signing Chris Nunn to a minor league contract and inviting him to spring training. Nunn of course garnered some social media buzz after posting video of himself throwing on Pitching Ninja’s Flatground Pitching Twitter account. Unfortunately this story doesn’t have a happy ending as Nunn was later released.
I am probably going to disqualify this article from future end of the year rankings but I am leaving it this time just to call attention to it. We track every 40-man roster move for the Braves and keep a running list available so you can find an up to date roster picture. This article is usually placed in just under the cover in the Roster, Schedules and Broadcast Information section.
I knew this was a cool story when I wrote it up but I didn’t have any idea that it would be the most read piece we would have on the site. The headline pretty much says it all but I took a look back at the events that led to a young Tom Glavine being ejected for throwing at Braves legend Dale Murpny who was then playing for the Phillies.