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On July 10, Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. went down with a torn ACL against the Marlins, and all hope for the NL East seemed lost. Suddenly GM Alex Anthopoulos turned on a dime and traded for Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, and Joc Pederson to provide some reinforcements to that outfield. They are all quality players, but no one anticipated they would take over the division.
Once again, the experts were wrong. These pieces have been nails for Atlanta, and this fan base should want at least a few of these guys to return next year. The bargain bin ain’t so bad after all.
The Braves deadline OF acquisitions of Duvall/Soler/Rosario/Pederson now have 694 PA, roughly a full season’s worth for a single player.
.254/.327/.506, 40 HR, 106 RBI, 2.8 fWAR
Remember that they got all this for Pablo Sandoval, Bryce Ball, Alex Jackson, and Kasey Kalich.
— Matt Chrietzberg (@BravesMattC) September 28, 2021
I’ve never been one to support a team with the second-best attendance in all of baseball to sift through the clearance bin for talent, but this time the Braves deserve credit. These pickups happened after most baseball analysts gave up on the Braves when Acuna Jr. went down. Atlanta was burning, but the flame was extinguished by players who can do damage and provide depth.
Duvall, Soler, Rosario, and Pederson have slashed .254/.327/.506 with 40 homers and 106 RBI in their 694 plate appearances since joining the team.
That’s elite production, and now the Braves rake from top to bottom and no longer have to rely on the Acuna/Freeman one-two punch. It’s a good problem to have, and this balanced attack has been consistent and worth a return in 2022. Acuna now slates to miss the beginning of the 2022 campaign, which makes this reunion so enticing.
EXTEND JORGE SOLER pic.twitter.com/fZjMgUwwVz
— SportsTalkATL Jake (@cantguardjake) September 26, 2021
The Atlanta Braves also have bullpen pieces that’ve been there for a while stepping up, like Luke Jackson. Calling closer Will Smith sketchy might be an understatement, but if Atlanta can get him to lock in, they might be able to give the Giants or Dodgers a scare. Don’t count on Smith though, he’s a migraine waiting to happen.
Still, a great story in Atlanta.