Atlanta Braves Simulation Recap: April

Feb 28, 2020; North Port, Florida, USA; Atlanta Braves third baseman Johan Camargo (17) rounds third base on his two run home run against the New York Yankees during the second inning at CoolToday Park. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

After a 2-4 month of April, the Atlanta Braves simulation kicked into high gear. The Braves have won 20 of 27 to build a four-game lead in the NL East. The Braves have the best record in the National League, and they sit 1.5 games behind the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball. What made them so successful?

The Hitting

Ozzie Albies and Johan Camargo are scorching hot at the plate. Albies leads the majors in hits with 48, and only David Dahl has more total bases among National Leaguers. Camargo has 10 doubles and an OPS of .980. Both have eclipsed 1.3 WAR with Camargo among the National League leaders in WAR. In terms of win probability added, Albies is tied for second in the National League.

Camargo and Marcell Ozuna pace the team in homers with six each. Ronald Acuna leads the team in RBI with 24 as Albies, Camargo, and Freddie Freeman are close behind with 20. Albies, Acuna, and Ender Inciarte have stolen a total of 24 bases.

As a whole, the entire lineup has been fairly successful. Inciarte and Adeiny Hechavarria have negative WARs at the moment, but they have been impactful with above-average baserunning and fielding.

The Pitching:

Mike Foltynewicz has been steady in seven starts. He has a 3-1 record with a 3.53 ERA. He has three quality starts. If Foltynewicz was the ace of the staff, it might be alarming, but he has been the fifth-best starter for the Braves in the simulation. It is advantageous for the Braves to have five reliable starters.

Max Fried is in a similar boat to Foltynewicz with three quality starts. In his seven starts, he has a 3.46 ERA. He currently leads the team in strikeouts. As with Foltynewicz, his performance could be a bit better, but he has been wildly productive for being the fourth-best starter in the rotation.

Mike Soroka burst onto the scene in 2019 with an electrifying campaign, and he has done much of the same in the simulation. He has a fabulous ERA of 2.18 and a WHIP under 1.000. Soroka has excelled at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing 0.2 home runs per nine innings. Similarly, he has a low walk rate of 1.2 per nine. He has six quality starts in seven total starts, including a shutout.

Bryse Wilson has been a pleasant surprise in the simulation. He has a 2.34 ERA in six starts. He has three quality starts. His ERA is slightly misleading as he has allowed four unearned runs in his starts, but he has been fairly effective at reducing baserunners.

The star of the show has been Kyle Wright. Wright sports a 1.82 ERA, and he has five quality starts in six starts. He has a great WHIP of 0.981, and he is one of the most hit-averse pitchers in baseball. If he could reduce his walk rate (3.9 per nine), he could be in play for the Cy Young Award.

The Results:

After splitting the first two games of the month, Atlanta won eight straight games, winning five out of six against the Marlins and sweeping the Padres. After dropping the fourth game of the series against the Marlins, the Braves took three out of four against the Mets and two from three against the Giants. To close out the month, the Braves swept the Diamondbacks and Reds on either side of being swept by the Mets.

What is Next?

The Braves have a three-game series with the Mets and the Phillies on the docket before returning home to face the Marlins and the Red Sox.

It is hard to draw conclusions from simulated baseball games, but the Atlanta Braves simulation appears to portray the Braves as one of the most talented teams in baseball.

For the real-life Braves, they would have to become accustomed to new opponents if newly-planned divisions take root. Rather than being in the east division, the Braves would move to the central division as the Pirates move to the east. The Braves might prefer to escape the Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Yankees, and Rays in a loaded east division, but the central division would have its challenges.

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