May 6, 2012

Braves Boom: Statistical Revival

Chipper - "It's Been Storybook So Far"
Ok, its probably WAY too early to start asking, "Is this the year?!" but the Atlanta Braves have already started garnering plenty of media attention- winning 17 of their past 24 games after an 0-4 start, coming back from a 6 run deficit TWICE in the past four days to win in extra innings, and racking up 55 hits & 37 runs in their past 4 ball games (which is even more incredible when you consider one of those games they scored ZERO runs and had a total of 3 hits). Who are these guys? Most fans, especially ATLANTA fans- (ya know...that voice that's always inside your head saying, "Don't worry- They'll find a way to blow it, let ya down...don't get your hopes up.") can't get too excited when your not even at the quarter mark of the season yet, but doesn't this feel pretty special right now, is it this year? who knows. Projections mean squat (remember when the Braves had a 99% chance of making the playoffs at one point during the season last year? I do.), but if they keep their current pace they'll finish at 98-64; don't hold your breath... at least until the All-Star Break.

A Few Interesting Stats:

- Braves Record in Extra Inning Games: 2-0

- Braves Record in One Run Games: 5-1

- Chipper Jones blasted his 5th HR of the season in his 17th game; Jones didn't record his 5th HR of 2011 until his 53rd game

- The Braves New Era Cap is the 2nd Best-Seller in all of Major League Baseball

MLB Ranking:

Hits / Game
2011 Braves - 8.30 [#23/30]
2012 Braves - 9.26 [#5/30]

Runs / Game
2011 Braves - 3.96 [#22/30]
2012 Braves - 5.26 [#5/30]

Stolen Bases / Game
2011 Braves - 0.48 [#27/30]
2012 Braves - 0.78 [#6/30]

Sacrifice Flies / Game
2011 Braves - 0.19 [#29/30]
2012 Braves - 0.37 [#6/30]
(Sac Flies - First 28 Games 2012 - 11, First 112 Games 2011 - 13)

Batting Average / Team
2011 Braves - .243 [#26/30]
2012 Braves - .267 [#5/30]

On Base Percentage / Team
2011 Braves - .308 [#26/30]
2012 Braves - .329 [#9/30]

It's fairly certain that having Michael Bourn solidified in the leadoff spot, stealing more bases and increased production of sac flies has helped the Braves manufacture more runs early on this season. This A-B-C style of NL baseball is what the Braves have lacked in recent years; successfully playing small ball at times instead of relying on the 3-run homer (Cox Era) is the key to this teams success. This type of thing can get lost in the shuffle, but without a doubt will be the deciding factor in the team making the playoffs as a wild-card/division winner and in my opinion- determine just how far they are able to go.

The Braves left off where they finished 2011 in their first 4 games this year, but since then they've done a complete 180 and haven't looked back; morphing into a completely different ball club:

I know, projections are always too good to be true; It won't be this good, but if these 4 players kept their current pace- these are the numbers they would finish the season with: