Just when everyone started to count them out, the Braves started playing like the reigning World Series champions.
After starting the season sub-.500, Atlanta (35-27) has now won 12 games in a row — the third-longest win streak in the franchise’s modern era and tied for the longest by a defending champ in the post-1961 Expansion Era (Astros, 2018).
Led by shortstop Dansby Swanson — who has hit safely in 24 of his last 26, going 2-for-5 with a homer and 4 RBI in Monday’s 9-5 win over the Nationals — the Braves’ torrid run has been driven by a young core of sluggers.
- The 2015 No. 1 pick ranks seventh in the NL with a 2.5 position player WAR.
- OF Ronald Acuña Jr. has a .923 OPS after returning from last season’s ACL tear in April.
- C William Contreras (1.050 OPS) and OF Michael Harris II (.293 AVG) have parlayed solid contributions into more playing time.
Acuña became the youngest player to sign a $100 million contract with his eight-year, $100 million deal from 2019, while Contreras and Harris are comfortably under team control for several seasons.
The 28-year-old Swanson is no sure bet to return next season, however: He’s scheduled to hit free agency for the first time in his career this offseason.
He’ll have even more opportunities to increase his leverage in the coming weeks after 2B Ozzie Albies sustained a fractured foot during Monday’s contest.
Atlanta currently has the sixth-best odds (+1100) to repeat as champions.