If you can believe it, we are already 1/10 of the way through this year’s regular season after less than a week of play. It won’t be long before the trade deadline arrives, and then it booms, it’s October. The Braves have had a top-down start and are deservedly 3-3. Their initial turnaround, as we expected, has been their most important concern. However, their bullet has proven to be a weapon that Brian Snitker will have a lot of fun with this season.
As bad as the Atlanta relief core started last year, they were one of the best at the end of the season as Alex Anthopoulos added to the trade term Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Chris Martin and this trend continued into 2020 .
Outside of Touki Toussaint̵7;s visit on Monday, in which he allowed six runs won in 2.2 relief cases against Rays, the Braves bullet has allowed only four runners to cross the plate in 24 working cases. No other assistants have allowed more than one run won, and they have been outstanding in striking strikes, which was their most heated issue last season. At 26.1 times, the Atlanta relief core has only four walks compared to thirty notes. And for the most part, they have been without their two best facilitators.
Mark Melancon made his 2020 debut yesterday, throwing a perfect edge defense in the Rays after the backstroke kept him sidelined for a few days. He is expected to be closest to the teams to move forward. However, Atlanta’s best supporter – based on performance in recent years – and their newest addition, Will Smith, has yet to join the team after testing positive for the coronavirus before the season. He has since tested negative and is back in the camp, but still needs some time to recover before rebuilding the team. We need to see him make his Braves debut sometime next week.
Atlanta has revealed a lot that it has to do in their rotation if they want to make a push to come October. Fried Mike Soroka and Max are fantastic, but they need more than that before they are seen as serious contenders. Hopefully, wings like Sean Newcomb and Kyle Wright can grow. Until then, however, the lead will have to be at the top of their game if the Braves want to repeat as NL East champions.