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Where the Braves Rank Among the NL Contenders (Part 1)

Posted by jrniemeyer on August 15, 2010

The pennant races are heating up and the NL East is no different. Entering Sunday, the Braves held a 2 game lead over the Phillies who are all the sudden getting much healthier. Below, I will rank the NL contenders by 6 categories: offense, defense, starting rotation, bullpen, bench and managers. For the purpose of this post, a contender is defined by any team within 5 games of a playoff spot.

Offense:

  1. Cincinnati- Reds lead the league in runs scored and OPS.
  2. Phillies- I’m a little apprehensive to put them here but they are 2nd among contenders in runs scored and they are only getting healthier.
  3. Cardinals- They are neck and neck with the Braves in most offensive stats but have 51 more hits and 73 less K’s.
  4. Braves- Without question losing Chipper and Prado has hurt this offense but the Braves have been able to recover thanks to the deepest bench in baseball and the ability to get on base(.339 OBP leads NL).
  5. Giants- In almost every category they are dead on the league average. Lucky for them, they have pitching that overcomes the average offense.
  6. Padres- The Padres offense is bottom 4 in the NL in BA, SLG, OPS, and doubles.

Defense-

  1. Giants- Lead the NL in Fld% and 3rd in DEF eff.
  2. Padres- Tops in DEF eff. and have made the 4 fewest errors in the NL.
  3. Cincinnati- Is it any surprise that 3 of the top contenders are also 3 of the top DEF teams in the league?
  4. Cardinals- I have them slightly ahead of the Phillies in the 4th spot. They both hover around league averages in most categories. Cardinals are 3rd in the NL with 122 double plays turned.
  5. Phillies- The Phillies DEF hasn’t been a liability but I’m not sure it’s helped them either
  6. Braves- The Braves have been below average at best on DEF. The addition of Alex Gonzalez may have been a plus in the clubhouse but the difference in his glove/arm and Escobar’s DEF is astonishing.

Starting Pitching

  1. Cardinals- This is where it gets tight. The Cardinals have a slight edge over the rest with their 3.28 starting ERA and the best pitcher in the NL Adam Wainwright.
  2. Giants- The Giants dominate opposing batters with a .239 BAA and are 2nd in the NL with 71 quality starts.
  3. Braves- Call me a homer but I’m putting the Braves at 3 because of their top 3. Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrjens have been dominant the last month. Fourth in both QS and starting ERA.
  4. Padres- They are 4th in the rankings because quite frankly they don’t pitch that much. 11th in IP but 2nd in BAA.
  5. Phillies- If we were doing playoff rotations they may be top 3, but with no back end of the rotation, 5th is the highest they’ll get.
  6. Reds- They have a decent rotation anchored by Johny Cueto. They don’t do anything particularly well but with their offense, they don’t have to.

I will have Part 2 up on Tuesday and we will look at the contenders and how the Braves rank among benches, bullpens, and managers. Enjoy.

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