By: Andrew Parker
October is finally here, and that means postseason baseball is among us. For some of us, that means we get to watch our favorite team battle it out to win it all. For others, teams have fallen short and they don’t have a dog in the fight.
Of course, the usual suspects such as the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers are back in contention, but this year has seen some surprise teams like the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers, and Oakland Athletics join the mix.
One team in particular that should be exciting to watch is the Atlanta Braves and their developing youth movement. By no means are the Braves a surprise team in the playoffs, but they just might be the most electric.
I’m sure it sounds pretty cliche to say we should root for a team that had 97 wins and will be considered a favorite in their first round match up with the St. Louis Cardinals, but you can’t deny that the Braves are the most electric team in the league. They will have the youngest starting lineup out of all the postseason teams, and that alone should be pretty exciting for any baseball fan to watch and appreciate.
One huge factor as to why the Braves are so thrilling to watch is because they employ the next generational superstar in the league in Ronald Acuña Jr. The only reason I say “next” superstar is because he is only 21-years-old and is still getting better each season.
With that being said, a case can be made that he has already excelled superstar status.
Acuña is just one piece of an Atlanta lineup that features Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Josh Donaldson at the heart of the order. Talk about a stacked front half of your lineup. This has forced opposing teams to pitch to Acuña since he is not the centerpiece of the offense.
Freeman has been arguably the most underrated and consistent star in the MLB, as he put up impressive numbers once again this season. Meanwhile, Albies has quietly produced, staying under the radar due to the guys around him in the lineup. When one guy doesn’t step up, someone else likely comes through.
Donaldson has recaptured his old form that we were all used to seeing when he was in Toronto and Oakland. After battling injuries for the past two seasons and only playing in a total of 16 games last season, the “Bringer of Rain” is back and better than ever.
To bring in a veteran like Donaldson in free agency was a low risk, high reward move by the Braves that ended up paying off. As shown above, the energy and veteran presence he has brought to this young Atlanta team cannot be overlooked.
On top of that, he mashed 37 home runs and had 94 RBIs on the season, and will look to keep up that pace as they enter the playoffs.
Speaking of another guy who is just as hard to root against, enter in Mike Soroka. The 21-year-old has stepped up and gave this Braves team an ace that they desperately needed.
Soroka is in his first full season of MLB action and has been more than what the Braves could have asked for.
He was selected to his first All Star Game this year and it is easy to see why. The young right-handed pitcher went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA during the regular season. Soroka is sitting in the top ten in the MLB in both of those categories and should at least be in the running for Cy Young this year in the NL.
The Atlanta Braves will go as far as their offense can take them this postseason, and they will be matching up St. Louis, arguably the most inconsistent team in the league.
The Braves have the best chance of silencing the “best fans in baseball” that St. Louis has proclaimed themselves. That alone is worth rooting for Atlanta, along with how electric the surge of youth has been this year.
Cover Photo via: Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
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