With another 11 runs scored last night the Braves clinched the division on the back of what has consistently been there for them throughout the season - their offense. We saw the Braves mash five homeruns, on 15 hits in which eight of them were extra base hits against a hot Marlins team that is battling for a spot in the postseason as well.
They’ve secured their third division title in a row on the backs of their bats with an incredible month of September that has seen the Braves claim the top offense in the league - scoring 7.2 runs per game, while hitting .288/.377/.533 AS A TEAM - good enough for a 145 wRC+ and an absolute hysterical 6.7 fWAR which, as can be seen below, is significantly higher than any other team in baseball.
In a season in which they’ve seen two of their top players hit the injured list for long periods of time (Acuna, Albies), both of their catchers sit out early in the season with a possible COVID-19 scare, lost Nick Markakis, gained Nick Markakis the Braves offense still managed to put up the fourth highest fWAR (10.4) in baseball. They are second in the league in homers, first in runs, first in ISO, first in wOBA, and first in wRC+.
Knowing all of this, I decided to figure out how this offense ranks historically to past Braves teams using just a mix of advanced and basic stats and the answer may be a little surprising - we are witnessing history.
Almost everyone’s first thought when it comes to Atlanta Braves and offense is the 2003 campaign where the Braves had the likes of Gary Sheffield hitting .330/.419/.604 (163 wRC+), Javy Lopez mashing to the tune of .328/.378/.687 (170 wRC+), Marcus Giles smashed .316/.390/.526 (139 wRC+), all the while Andruw Jones also hit .277/.338/.513 (118 wRC+). Five of that team’s eight position players all made the all-star game and as a team they hit .284/.349/.475, good for a 112 wRC+, and .354 wOBA while averaging 5.60 runs per game.
How does this compare to the 2020 squad?
I was hoping I would ask that question because I really like the answer. You saw the stats for the month of September above - what about stats for the full (shortened) season? The 2020 Braves offense may have the NL MVP, and the NL Triple Crown Winner who are two different players. Four of baseball’s top 30 wRC+ leaders are all on the Braves offense, four of baseball’s top 30 wOBA leaders are all on the Braves offense, and three of baseball’s top 30 fWAR leaders - all the while the likes of Ozzie Albies, who is on a tear, has battled a wrist injury. Seven of the Braves position players have a wRC+ of AT LEAST 110, with Freddie leading the table at 188. All of this culminates in the simple fact that this is the best run producing Braves offense since they moved to the city of Atlanta.
I’ll be the first to say these stats were really skewed by that 29 run game - but even when you remove it, it simply drops down to the second best offense in Atlanta history dropping right below the 2003 Braves (5.5 runs per game). That being said, you can’t simply eliminate a game in which the Braves set NL history so for that I end with - sit back and enjoy history.