In our initial segment on Best of the 10 for 10’s, we looked at the best of the Atlana Braves Infield.
Today, we take a gander at the best of the Atlanta Braves Outfield of the 2010’s. Just a reminder that in determining who’s the best, we followed a simple criteria. If there was one player that had a great outlying year that supersedes other players, that player gets the nod. If a player has 1 great year that’s slightly better than another player who sustained success for multiple years, the latter gets the nod. If you disagree, feel free to yell at us in the comments.
Atlanta Braves Outfield, Best of the 10 for 10’s: Right Field
Jason Heyward– I bet if you asked the casual Atlanta Braves fan, they’d tell you that Jason Heyward’s tenure was a massive disappointment. Make no mistake, after his rookie year, MLB analysts everywhere were dropping Heyward’s name in MVP conversations. That was an unfair expectation for the then 21 year old and it likely led to the aforementioned criticisms of his 5 years in Atlanta.
Mostly playing RF, with spot starts in CF, Heyward was worth 19.6 fWAR in 5 years with the Braves, averaging right under 4 fWAR/year. In all likelihood, he would’ve surpassed 20 fWAR had he not been forced to sit 50ish games in 2013 with a broken jaw. In his final year of team control, he was dealt to the Cardinals for Tyrell Jenkins and Shelby Miller, which in turn, matured into Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, and Aaron Blair. So…let’s thank Heyward for 5 great years in a Braves uniform and smile internally knowing that his 1 year of sacrifice turned into the greatest trade we Braves fans have likely ever seen.
And I was in the building for this…what a moment!
Atlanta Braves Outfield, Best of the 10 for 10’s : Center Field
Michael Bourn– It was 2012…a year where the Braves started with an outfield of Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, and Jason Heyward. Outside of Heyward, expectations weren’t terribly high, but that OF combined for over 15 fWAR, and no OF since has trumped that total.
Bourn was just okay when the Braves acquired him in 2011 to fill the space of suckitude that was the CF position. Between Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer (effing success), the Braves were boasting the worst CF in the MLB To correct that, the Braves swung a deadline deal for Bourn giving up Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu. A big prospect cost at the time, but none of the names had successful MLB careers so it was the right call. Fast forward 1/2 an MLB year, and Bourn was remarkable for the Braves in 2012, carrying a 5.3 fWAR and solidifying the leadoff spot with a .348 OBP and 42 SBs to boot.
Atlanta Braves Outfield, Best of the 10 for 10’s: Left Field
Ronald Acuna– After Jason Heyward and Michael Bourn, it feels good knowing that, for as long as the Braves want him, Ronald Acuna Jr. will be kicking ass and taking names in the Atlanta Braves outfield. Like Heyward, Ronald Acuna Jr. came into the MLB with almost unrealistic expectations. However in the 1.7 years that he’s been a big leaguer, he’s been everything the team could ask for, collecting 9.3 fWAR in the process and leading the Braves to back to back division titles.
The unexpected positive that’s come along with RAJ has been his baserunning (other than the occasional lapse going to first) as he’s graded out as a plus-plus baserunner and has carried a high percent success rate in stolen bases.
The negative of Acuna’s 2 years with the organization has been the in your face celebrations that have rubbed some of his opponents and teammates the wrong way, and I’ve only got one thing to say to that.
Freaking get over it.
Thanks for reading our 10 for 10’s piece on the Atlanta Braves Outfield. If you enjoyed this piece, check out our reflection on Ronald Acuna Jr’s 2019 season.
Long Live Braves Journal!
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