2021 Atlanta Braves Depth Chart
The Atlanta Braves have been a surprise team this year. They are first in the National League East, boast one of the youngest starting infields and have a deep pitching staff. On top of that, the team has one of the top three farm systems in major league baseball, which means they can get even younger and deeper.
|Catcher||Travis d'Arnaud||William Contreras|
|1st Base||Freddie Freeman|
|2nd Base||Ozzie Albies|
|Shortstop||Dansby Swanson||Ehire Adrianza|
|3rd Base||Austin Riley||Pablo Sandoval|
|Left Field||Marcell Ozuna|
|Center Field||Ender Inciarte||Cristian Pache|
|Right Field||Ronald Acuna|
What makes this more unbelievable is that most experts had projected the team’s championship window not to be open until next year. However, their fantastic play, along with the sudden demise of the Washington Nationals, opened the door for the Braves to take advantage of the situation. The Philadelphia Phillies are right there with the Braves, but Atlanta is in a more favorable spot.
The Atlanta Braves were most famous for absolutely owning the National League East during the 1990s and early 2000s, as they won 14 straight National League East crowns. Those teams were led by a remarkable pitching staff and recent hall-of-famer Chipper Jones. The upcoming teams have a chance to surpass those teams due to their young talent, both already in the majors and still in the minors.
The Braves have experienced their fair share of injuries, as the recent depth chart shows nine players on the disabled list. However, their pitching is deep enough to withstand that. 13 pitchers have made at least one start for the team, with four pitchers throwing over 140 innings.
The starting rotation, like the rest of the team, is young and deep. Their oldest pitcher is Anibal Sanchez, who is 34-years-old. However, their top three pitchers, Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb, are 27, 26 and 25, respectively. Their 5th starter, Kevin Gausman, is also 27, and they have an up-and-coming 20-year-old starter that has thrown one game for them. The Braves as a unit are 5th in the National League in starting pitching ERA, Seven pitchers have saved at least one game for the Braves as well, showing the many different options in their bullpen. With the way that baseball has approached the postseason in the past five years, having a deep and strong bullpen is the secret to success. Despite the team being 10th in the National League in bullpen ERA, they are deep enough to overcome that weakness.
The Braves have 32 saves as a team, with Arodys Vizcaino and A.J. Minter having and 11, respectively. Vizcaino is currently on the 10-day disabled list, which meant Minter had to step up and take over the closer role. The team has also spread around the relief efforts, as the team leader in games is 58, out of a possible 130.
However, what makes this team even more dangerous is just how many more pitchers are waiting in their farm system. Out of the top-ten prospects, ranked by The Athletic, seven of them are pitchers. What that means is that the Braves are going to have some more high quality arms, both in the bullpen and starting rotation. This team is deep in pitching, but they also have a talented and young offense.
The Braves are among the league leaders in offense. Among the seven players that have received 300 plate appearances, five of them are hitting over .260. The team also has several players that can play multiple positions, leading to great matchups against some of the other contenders of the National League. Both Ronald Acuna Jr. and Charlie Culberson can play three positions each, while Adam Duvall can play at first and left field, depending on who needs a break.
The average starting age of their infield is nearly 26, and that was skewed due to 32-year-old starting catcher Tyler Flowers. 12 players have participated in at least 60 games, with Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis playing in every game to date. Seven players have hit at least 10 home runs, and another seven have driven in at least 45 runs. The offense is young, and while their farm system is stocked with pitchers, they still have some great young talent that is close to being called up.
Overall, the Braves are hitting their stride as a team. They’re young, talented and deep at the key positions. Even if they don’t make a deep October run, this is just the beginning. The Braves are returning to their dominant 90s selves, and that’s not good for the rest of the National League.