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Atlanta Braves: Best of the 2010s

The Atlanta Braves were reasonably good in the 2010s. They won three division titles and added a pair of wild card berths. They averaged 84.3 wins per season.

However, which team was the best of the decade? Was it the 97-win 2019 Braves? Do the 89-win 2011 Braves have an argument?

Using the software at whatifsports.com, these hypothetical questions can be answered.

Methodology:

The 10 teams have been ranked top to bottom based on wins during their season. The 2019 Braves are the top seed. The 2015 Braves are the bottom seed.

In the first round, the top six seeds have byes. The seven seed and 10 seed will square off in one matchup, and the eight and nine seeds will play in the other. The winners of the matchups will play the second and top seeds respectively, and the bracket will proceed as usual.

In the simulations, the series will be a best-of-seven.

Atlanta Braves Opening Round:

2016 Braves (68-93) versus 2017 Braves (72-90)

In Game 1, 2016 Freddie Freeman and the Braves scored in eight different innings. Freeman hammered a pair of homers, fueling the 2016 Braves to a 20-5 win.

Game 2 continued the reign of 2016 Freeman. He hit his third home run of the series, putting the 2016 Braves ahead for good. They won 5-2.

A dominant start from 2017 Mike Foltynewicz kept the Braves in the series. His one-run, 6.2-inning outing, gave room for the offense to slip four runs across. The 2017 Braves won 4-3.

In a critical Game 4, the 2016 Braves came alive in the eighth inning, scratching three runs to break a tie and push the 2017 Braves to the precipice of elimination. The 2016 Braves won 7-4.

2016 Williams Perez pitched a masterpiece in Game 5, allowing one run over eight innings, punching the 2016 Braves a ticket to the second round with a 4-1 win.

2016 Braves advance 4-1.

2015 Braves (67-95) versus 2014 Braves (79-83)

2015 A.J. Pierzynski mashed a three-run home run in the ninth inning to give the 2015 Braves a mammoth win in Game 1. The 2015 Braves won 8-2.

2014 Aaron Harang shut the 2015 Braves down through seven frames, and the bullpen cleaned up the rest. The 2014 Braves won Game 2 3-1.

Game 3 featured an offensive explosion as the teams exchanged five-run innings. The 2014 Braves scored nine runs in two innings and pulled off a come-from-behind 11-9 win.

The 2014 Upton brothers came to life, delivering five hits and four RBI in an 8-5 win in Game 4.

In Game 5, 2014 Alex Wood slammed the door on the series with a dominant, eight-inning, shutout performance. The 2014 Braves won 4-0.

2014 Braves advance 4-1.

Second Round:

2016 Braves (68-93) versus 2019 Braves (97-65)

The 2016 Braves stole Game 1 off the heels of homers from Matt Kemp and Dansby Swanson. The 2016 Braves won 9-4.

In Game 2, the 2019 Braves answered in a big way. They plated 11 runs including five in the eighth to blow the 2016 Braves out 11-1.

The runs continued to flow in Game 3 as the 2019 Braves once again drove home 11. Freddie Freeman pitched in with six RBI, and Mike Soroka got the win and hit a home run in an 11-5 win.

2019 Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb combined to blank the 2016 Braves in Game 4. The 2019 Braves won 5-0.

In a do-or-die Game 5, 2016 Freddie Freeman rallied the team with four RBI. The 2016 Braves stayed alive with a 6-4 victory.

In the second battle of Julio Teherans, the 2016 version had the upper hand once again. He struck out 11 over six innings, and the 2016 Braves forced a Game 7 with a 6-3 win.

Game 7 was a massacre as the 2016 Braves jumped all over Mike Soroka. Soroka was chased after allowing seven early runs. The 2016 Braves added 10 more to win 17-7.

2016 Braves advance 4-3

2018 Braves (90-72) versus 2010 Braves (91-71)

Game 1 descended into extra innings before 2010 Melky Cabrera lofted a ball to straight-away center that somehow slipped by Ender Inciarte‘s glove. The 2010 Braves won 3-2.

In Game 2, the 2018 Braves started with a four-run inning before scoring a total of 17 runs. They won 17-1.

Game 3 was a classic as the teams only scattered 12 hits in nine innings. A 2010 Derek Lowe double was answered by a Chipper Jones RBI single. Lowe picked up the 1-0 win.

2010 Eric Hinske drove in five runs as the 2010 Braves cruised to an 11-3 victory.

The 2018 Braves blew the game open with a five-run fourth inning, eventually settling for a 12-2 win and an upcoming Game 6.

2018 Ronald Acuna made his mark on the series, knocking the go-ahead runs in with a two-run homer. The 2018 Braves won 8-3.

The 2018 Braves closed the door on the series with a 5-1 victory. After five one-run innings from Julio Teheran, three relievers combined to keep the 2010 Braves from scoring.

2018 Braves advance 4-3.

2014 Braves (79-83) versus 2013 Braves (96-66)

In a pitching duel for the ages, 2013 Kris Medlen outdueled 2014 Julio Teheran. The 2013 Braves won 3-1.

Game 2 brought a balanced approach from the 2014 Braves. All nine batters got on base, and they tallied nine runs in a 9-4 victory.

2014 Justin Upton opened the scoring with a two-run blast, but the bats fell silent. The 2013 Braves rode a 10-strikeout performance from Tim Hudson and a productive showing from 2013 Upton and Jason Heyward to win 6-2.

In Game 4, 2013 Mike Minor and the Braves coasted to a fairly easy victory, taking a commanding 3-1 lead with a 5-3 win.

2013 Paul Maholm was untouchable in Game 5. He scattered three hits in eight innings as he needed one run of insurance. He got six. The 2013 Braves advance with a 6-1 triumph.

2013 Braves advance 4-1.

2011 Braves (89-73) versus 2012 Braves (94-68)

After an early explosion of offense, the 2012 Braves got the last laugh with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. The 2012 Braves won 6-5.

2012 Mike Minor had a performance for the ages. In the second inning, he smashed a three-run double, giving him all the insurance he would need as he allowed four baserunners in eight innings. The 2012 Braves won 12-2.

Following the trend set by Minor, 2012 Tim Hudson homered while throwing six scoreless innings. The 2012 Braves won 4-1.

After seven shutout innings from 2012 Kris Medlen, 2012 Jonny Venters blew the lead and the game by allowing a two-run single by 2011 Freddie Freeman. The 2011 Braves stayed alive with a 2-1 win.

The 2011 Braves got their bats going with a 12-spot on the scoreboard. 2011 Heyward drove in five, and the 2011 Braves forced a Game 6 with a 12-2 win.

Shoddy bullpen work cost the 2012 Braves in Game 4, but it saved the Braves in Game 6. Leading 2-1, three relievers combined to allow one hit and zero runs as the 2012 Braves advance.

2012 Braves advance 4-2.

Semifinals:

2016 Braves (68-93) versus 2018 Braves (90-72)

After 11 innings of scoreless ball, the 2018 Braves added two hits in the bottom of the 12th with 2018 Dansby Swanson driving home 2018 Freddie Freeman. The 2018 Braves won 1-0.

The 2016 Braves answered massively in Game 2, plastering the 2018 Braves 10-1.

In the second extra-inning game of the series, 2018 Swanson scored the game-winning run after a wild pitch got away. The 2018 Braves won 5-4.

Similar to Games 1 and 3, Game 4 distributed free baseball. Heading into the 11th tied 6-6, the 2018 Braves small-balled their way to three more runs, winning 9-6.

The 2016 Braves jumped Brandon McCarthy early, driving in four runs. Williams Perez kept the 2018 Braves quiet, and the 2016 Braves won 6-2.

2018 Mike Foltynewicz was stellar in Game 6, pitching eight clean innings. The 2018 Braves advance with a 7-0 win.

2018 Braves advance 4-2.

2012 Braves (94-68) versus 2013 Braves (96-66)

A six-run third inning ended the game before it started. The 2013 Braves romped to an 8-2 win in Game 1.

In Game 2, the 2013 Braves rode another multi-run third inning to jump out to a big lead. The 2012 Braves scratched a trio of runs back in the ensuing runs, but the 2013 Braves held on for an 8-5 win.

A duel of Tim Hudsons lived up to the hype as both went deep in the game. The 2012 Hudson won out, pitching a shutout while the 2013 iteration allowed two runs in a 2-0 loss.

2012 Kris Medlen followed the absence of offense, holding the 2013 Braves to one run in eight innings. Two runs were enough to tie the series.

For the third straight game, the 2013 Braves left the offense at home. After an early lead, the 2012 Braves expanded the up to 11 in a 12-1 win.

The 2012 Braves continued their hot stretch, rattling off eight runs to win their fourth straight game. The 2012 Braves won 8-5.

2012 Braves advance 4-2.

Finals:

2018 Braves (90-72) versus 2012 Braves (94-68)

2018 Mike Foltynewicz set the tone for the series, allowing a single run in seven innings. The 2018 Braves coasted to a 5-1 win.

For the fifth time in the simulation, the 2018 Braves went to extras. For the fourth consecutive time, they won. Pinch-hitter Preston Tucker launched the first pitch he saw into the Chophouse, pushing the 2018 Braves to a 6-5 win.

2012 Tim Hudson twirled a masterful Game 3 for the third straight series. An Andrelton Simmons single drove in the game-tying and game-winning wins in the seventh inning. The 2012 Braves won 3-2.

2012 Kris Medlen followed up Hudson with a stellar 8.1-inning, one-run showcase. The 2012 Braves won 2-1.

2012 Jason Heyward put the team on his back in Game 5. He drove in four runs, leading the 2012 Braves to a 6-3 win.

In a do-or-die Game 6, the 2018 Braves were fueled by Ender Inciarte. Inciarte drove in four runs and played great defense to keep the Braves alive. The 2018 Braves won 6-1.

In Game 7, the 2018 Atlanta Braves applied the pressure with a six-run fifth to blow the game open. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the 2018 Braves led 7-1. 2012 Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman began the inning with walks. After a strikeout, Brian McCann lined a double into right scoring a run. After an out, pinch-hitter Juan Francisco doubled into the gap, driving home a pair. Michael Bourn, Martin Prado, and Jason Heyward kept the order moving with three straight singles, driving in two more runs. Jones pulled a ball down the line where 2018 Freddie Freeman made a beautiful sliding stop. Freeman jumped to his feet, stepped on the base, and ended the series. The 2018 Braves won 7-6.

2018 Braves win 4-3.

Verdict, What Iteration of the Atlanta Braves was the Best?

Heading into the simulation, I would not have chosen the 2018 Atlanta Braves to triumph. The team was very young, and while there were many talented players, they benefitted from an average quartet of NL East opponents to win 90 games and make the playoffs.

The 2016 Braves were a massive surprise, winning two series as underdogs. They were unfortunate to lose three extra innings games in the semifinal against. the 2018 Braves. Had they not knocked off the 2019 Braves in a 3-1 comeback, the 2019 Atlanta Braves likely roll through the 2018 Braves and win the tournament.


Be sure to follow me @MrSplashMan19 on Twitter for monthly Atlanta Braves simulation recaps and other MLB content. Follow us on Twitter at @OT_Heroics for more great content! 

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Ryan Potts
Hi. I am an avid football, baseball, and basketball fan with an eye on historical trends in each sport.
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