Analyzing Changes Braves Made Going Into 2018 Season
Now more important than what these teams were, is what changed? For the Braves, Freeman played in every game in 2018. Nick Markakis had one of his best years in the majors at the age of 34. The biggest changes?
Well, they came from the young guys. Albies played almost every day. But the man who made the biggest difference Was Ronald Acuna. The 20-year-old provided a .917 OPS in 111 games in left field, winning the NL Rookie of the Year award. Compare this with the .781 OPS Matt Kemp provided in 2017. Overall, the Braves offense only scored 26 more runs. It was not a massive improvement, but they were certainly more dangerous.
About that Braves pitching though. Only the Mets and Reds allowed more runs per game in the NL in 2017. Dickey, Jaime Garcia, and Bartolo Colon were gone, replaced by Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy, and Kevin Gausman. Newcomb improved slightly, Mike Foltynewicz dropped his ERA by almost two points, and Julio Teheran pitched much closer to his career numbers. The bullpen was very solid, with four different relievers throwing 50 or more innings with an ERA below 3.50.