The Braves have been the class of the National League East and look built to contend for a while.
Just like they did in the 90s.
This young Atlanta core has the Braves positioned to be a threat for many years. On offense there’s a five-tool star in Ronald Acuña Jr., plus other big-time players in Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley, among others. The pitching staff is elite, headlined by perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball right now in Spencer Strider.
Meanwhile, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos has done a fantastic job of getting stars signed when they are young. That’s allowed them to establish a core that can succeed for years on team-friendly contracts, while still being able to sign guys like Matt Olson and Sean Murphy to long-term deals.
In some ways, it feels like the days of John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Co. again. Smoltz detailed the similarities between the current Braves and the teams he was on during an appearance Tuesday on The Morning Shift on 92.9 The Game..
“I think the biggest thing is collectively they have a really, really good pitching staff, and that’s obviously what made us pretty special during the 90s," Smoltz said. "But their offense is way better than any offense we ever had. I think the depth of their offense and the flexibility that they have speaks to the obvious talent of Acuña at the top, Albies, and just the young core that they’ve put together. That’s going to keep them relatively in every game because of what they can do.
“You win with pitching and defense, typically that’s what wins championships, but it’s nice to have the complement of knowing you don’t have to be perfect. Every once in a while that offense might get shut down, but it doesn’t seem like a long-term kind of issue, it just seems like their offense is way better.”
Smoltz’s Braves ended up winning one World Series across five appearances during the 90s. The current group has one so far, and it’s not far-fetched to think more could be on the way.