Atlanta Braves Playoff Chances: Pretenders or Contenders?

The Atlanta Braves playoff chances are still up in the air.
The Atlanta Braves playoff chances are still up in the air.

The Atlanta Braves playoff chances are pretty high by most standards. The real question is, are they, contenders or pretenders? Well, the Braves have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons but have only made it to the NLCS one time over that span. They have some real talent on their squad and their stars are still very young.

Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna are some of the best young hitters in all of Major League Baseball. They also have solid veterans to go along with them such as Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Then why do the Braves struggle in the playoffs?

The Atlanta Braves Playoff Chances Rely On Starting Pitching

One thing that is very clear when looking up and down this roster is that starting pitching is severely lacking in Atlanta. Max Fried is their ace and a good one at that but beyond him, there isn’t much to boast about. They have a mix of younger guys and veterans.

Of those young pitchers, Ian Anderson may be the best one. He only started six games for the Braves but went 3-2 with an ERA below two, while also only giving up one longball in any given start.

The Atlanta Braves playoff chances will very much be affected by what the team rotation looks like. Two starting pitchers aren’t quite enough and the Braves must look to free agency to fill out this void.

With the Braves having a good mix of young and old players, this leaves them in a good place in terms of payroll. The team is still very much under the tax threshold which should allow the team to be spenders this offseason to sure up the rotation.

Atlanta Braves Playoff Chances: What Makes Them a Pretender?

This may come off as quite harsh, but dating all the way back to the ’90s the Braves have been know as playoff pretenders. They won their division every year from 1991 to 2005 but only got one World Series out of it. They are a team that makes the playoffs more often than not, but can’t seize their opportunity

The Atlanta Braves playoff chances are on the shoulders of their hitters and they are certainly good enough to get them there. As I’ve already talked about, however, the team desperately needs to add another piece or hope another young player can develop.

Atlanta Braves Playoff Chances: What Makes Them a Contender?

Something that makes this team an instant contender is the high level of play they receive from star players Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna, and Dansby Swanson. These guys are the young core that Atlanta has been building around.

Of course, the Atlanta Braves playoff chances also weigh heavily on the reigning NL MVP, Freddie Freeman. Freeman had a monster season, finishing with a batting average of .340. Of course, this was only over the course of 60 games so think of the accomplishment that you will.

If these guys can all come back and play at a high level in 2021 then I think the Braves will certainly win their division and still have a shot at World Series glory.

My Thoughts on the Atlanta Braves Playoff Chances

I think that the Braves are a very good team as they’re currently constructed. I think they will 100 percent be in the playoffs if they can stay healthy. Calling them a World Series contender is something that I still struggle with. The Dodgers and the Padres are looking like the teams to beat in the NL.

I would put the Braves below both teams but I think if they can add the right pieces, especially at pitcher, then they have a real chance at a World Series. Otherwise, I can’t view them as anything more than a probable division winner.

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