The 9-1 Atlanta Braves are without doubt the hottest team in Major League Baseball right now.
Not only are their bats on fire, but their pitching staff has been firing on all cylinders.
Just take a look at their standout offensive players:
Freddie Freeman - .412/.474/.647, 7-for-17, 1 home run, 1 double, 7 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Justin Upton - .385/.419/.949, 15-for-39, 6 home runs, 4 doubles, 10 RBI, 9 runs scored.
Chris Johnson - .357/.400/.500, 10-for-28, 1 home run, 1 double, 2 RBI, 4 runs scored.
Ramiro Pena - .357/.357/.643, 5-for-14, 1 home run, 1 double, 6 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Evan Gattis - .333/.400/.704, 9-for-27, 3 home runs, 1 double, 6 RBI, 3 runs scored.
Gerald Laird - .333/.429/.500, 4-for-12, 2 doubles, 1 RBI.
Jordan Schafer - .571/.571/.714, 4-for-7, 1 double, 2 runs scored.
Juan Francisco - .310/.333/.414, 9-for-29, 1 home run, 5 RBI, 2 runs scored.
Sure, Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons and B.J. Upton are off to slow starts, but it's early in the season and these guys are sure to rebound soon. However, the way the rest of the bats on the team are currently performing, even if it takes time for these guys to find their form, the Braves offense doesn't look like it'll slow down anytime soon.
So how about their pitching? Let's just say that their standout performers are doing just as well if not better than their offense.
Paul Maholm - 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 12.2 IP, 13 strikeouts, .156 average, 0.87 WHIP
Mike Minor - 2-0, 0.69 ERA, 13 IP, 11 strikeouts, .213 average, 0.85 WHIP
Kris Medlen - 1-1, 1.50 ERA, 12 IP, 4 strikeouts, .209 average, 1.25 WHIP
Tim Hudson - 1-0, 3.27 ERA, 11 IP, 10 strikeouts, .214 average, 1.27 WHIP
Craig Kimbrel - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 5 strikeouts, .067 average, 0.60 WHIP
Luis Avilan - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.2 IP, 3 strikeouts, .214 average, 1.09 WHIP
Cory Gearrin - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3.1 IP, 4 strikeouts, .000 average, 0.60 WHIP
Anthony Varvaro - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.1 IP, 2 strikeouts, .217 average, 0.95 WHIP
Jordan Walden - 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 4 IP, 4 strikeouts, .313 average, 1.25 WHIP
Eric O'Flaherty - 2-0, 3.18 ERA, 5.2 IP, 2 strikeouts, .158 average, 1.06 WHIP
Other than Julio Teheran and Christian Martinez, every single player on this staff is performing like they already have the playoffs in sight.
So are the Braves equipped to take it all this season? They sure look like it at this point.
Are they bound to hit some bumps in the road throughout the season? Of course they will, but the way they're playing right now, they sure look unstoppable.
I'm most impressed with the way the younger guys are producing. Evan Gattis looks like the real deal. His work behind the plate has been exceptional and his bat looks incredible. Mike Minor is pitching just as good as anyone in baseball. Craig Kimbrel has picked up right where he left off last season and is arguably the most talented and dominant closer in the majors.
You also have to like the fact the Tim Hudson is still pitching well late into his career and is a great veteran fixture to have supporting some of the younger guys in the rotation.
So where will the Braves be in the standings at the end of the season?
The way they are playing right now, I wouldn't be surprised to see them taking the National League East and making a competitive run for the World Series.
If they can keep up this trend and avoid injuries, I don't see how they can be stopped.
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