I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Atlanta Braves hit dingers. Lots and lots of dingers.
In fact, under Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves have hit home runs at a pace never before seen in franchise history. The most home runs Atlanta has ever hit in a season came in 2019, with 249. The second most home runs they’ve ever hit in a season came in 2022, when they hit 243. The third most home runs they’ve ever hit in a season came in 2021, with 239. And had 2020 been a full season, the Braves were on pace for around 270 home runs for the full season, the four most prolific home-run hitting seasons in franchise history would have all come in the last 4 years. Here’s the top 10:
The Braves have been built on the long ball. And 2023 looks to be no different.
Full disclosure, I did write a similar piece last year around this same time, because, well, it keeps being true. Atlanta had 243 home runs last year, only 6 shy of the franchise record, and what made that truly remarkable was they only got 23 from Ronald Acuña Jr and Ozzie Albies combined. And those two have usually been good for about 60 a season between the two of them.
As it stands at the end of January, and depending on which projection system you use, the 2023 Braves are projected to hit somewhere around 240 home runs in 2023, which again would be third most in franchise history. The normal names are at the top of list, with Austin Riley, Matt Olson and Acuña Jr projected for around 100 home runs just between the three of them.
But you don’t break the franchise record by relying just on your top guys. You do it with incredible depth. And that’s what’s made these Braves teams stand out over the last few year. One through eight or nine in the order, they seem to always have a home run threat at the plate. Last season they got 25 home runs from Dansby Swanson. They got 23 from Marcell Ozuna, 20 from Williams Contreras, 19 from Micheal Harris II, 18 from Travis d’Arnaud, 12 from Adam Duvall, and on and on. They’ve killed pitching staffs with endless depth.
And again, 2023 looks no different. Steamer has the Braves getting exactly 100 from those top 3 guys but then another 65 from Harris II, Albies and Sean Murphy. Steamer also has Ozuna hitting another 16, d’Arnaud hitting another 14, 13 from Eddie Rosario and 11 from Vaughn Grissom. In total, that’s ten guys hitting double digit home runs in 2023, and six guys hitting more than 20. It’s death by depth.
And the slugging number are extremely important for the Braves offense. In a world where you need either on-base percentage or slugging percentage to have a quality offense, the Braves definitely skew more towards the latter. Their .443 team SLG% ranked number one in all of baseball last season and was the principle reason they scored the third most runs in the sport. On the other side, their .317 OBP ranked 11th in baseball and finished tied with the Phillies and Twins. In the Anthopoulos era, the Braves slug their way to runs. And in the last five seasons, it’s won them five straight division titles, a pennant, and a World Series.
And 2023 doesn’t look like it’s going to be any different.