I like how, in a normal season, you don’t really look at team stats, and especially individual stats, until you get about 45 games into the season. But this isn’t a normal season. So as we’re a month in, we’re halfway done with the regular season. Where does the offense stand so far?
So far, not bad. We currently sit 5th in MLB in runs scored, and 9th in wRC+. Using a cumulative stat like runs scored may not be the best way of evaluating this season since not everybody has played the same amount of games. But the only team ahead of the Braves in wRC+ that hasn’t played as many games is the Phillies (they’ve played 4 less), so I don’t think that runs scored ranking is particularly misleading.
The star performers have obviously been Dansby Swanson, Marcell Ozuna, and Freddie Freeman, which is nice since they have played in the most team games and collected the most PAs. Dansby’s walk rate has been atrocious (4.5%), but he’s otherwise been what we’ve always hoped he’d be: 114 wRC+,0.9 fWAR in 36 games, playing great defense and in the lineup every day. Ozuna’s been incredible: 161 wRC+ and 1.2 fWAR. He would be on pace for 54 home runs in a 162-game season. Freddie has been almost as good: 159 wRC+ and 1.3 fWAR showing that his elbow problems are in the past.
Nick Markakis rolled out of bed one day, decided to opt in, and he’s rocking a 140 wRC+ while playing in 20 of our 36 team games. I thought he’d be well behind the competition, but here he is. Adam Duvall and Travis d’Arnaud have also been huge contributors with their 111 and 129 wRC+, respectively. After starting slow, Ronald Acuna has also been his usual self, matching Freddie Freeman in home runs with 5 (in 13 less games), and also contributing an elite 140 wRC+. Austin Riley now has the 5th-most PAs on the team and has inched his way to a 98 wRC+. Of the position player prospects, he has been the chief target of criticism, but he’s knocking the homers, so I think he’s here to stay.
So most of the offense has been quite good. And our minds tend to gravitate towards the offensive zeroes, so let’s run through those. Ender Inciarte, of course, is an offensive dumpster fire. He’s got a 44 wRC+, and he’s just simply not hitting anything hard. We’ve seen the physical decline coming for a while, and while he’s probably better than his 44 wRC+, I believe his days as a lineup regular are absolutely over.
But for me, the most disappointing aspect is Johan Camargo’s struggles. With Ender, you had an idea that he was going to start hitting a rough patch as he aged, and he’s being paid so much that they will give him every opportunity within reason to get it right. Camargo’s struggles (65 wRC+) along with the fact that he’s gotten the 4th-most PAs on the team tell me that Atlanta really, really wants this to work. You wouldn’t keep running him out there as much as just about any other player if they didn’t feel like he’s better than he’s shown. Contrast that with Ender where it seems Atlanta has made their decision on him: he’s a bench player now. I don’t get that sense with Camargo.
How do you feel the offense has done so far?