Old school baseball fans cover your ears; the formula for teams to win has become rather simple — hit the most home runs, and you usually walk away with a victory. Few teams adapted to this way of winning as well of the Braves, whose home run total has risen in each of the last three seasons (the shortened 2020 campaign not included, even though they hit the second-most homers that year, behind only the Dodgers).
Last season, the Braves launched 239 balls out of the yard — good for third in the league. Only the Giants and Blue Jays had more, but nobody was better at hitting the ball out of the ballpark than the Braves come October, who finished the postseason with 23 homers, which was the most among all teams. The game has become all about the long ball, and frankly, I’m here for it. Who doesn’t like watching the best hitters in the game blast balls into the stratosphere? What’s not to like about this?
Jorge Soler 3-run homer to put the Braves (+118 ML) up 3-0 @betthebases
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) November 3, 2021
Yeah, I have a feeling that won’t be the last time I post that video either. In fact, when I die, play it at my funeral.
You know the term adapt or die? Well, the Braves have adapted as well as anyone to this new era of baseball. Alex Anthopoulos has continually put together a lineup that can change the game with one swing of the bat at any given moment, and it’s worked like a charm. I don’t expect him to alter that game plane this offseason either. The Braves goal is to hit bombs, and with just a couple of re-signings, they have an opportunity to put together the most powerful lineup in MLB history.
- Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Ozzie Albies
- Freddie Freeman
- Austin Riley
- Marcell Ozuna
- Jorge Soler
- Adam Duvall
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Dansby Swanson
That is an absolutely ruthless bunch. The MLB record for home runs in a season is 307, which was set by the Minnesota Twins just three seasons ago in 2019. The Yankees also hit 306 bombs that year. That’s incredible, and it was also in the heart of the juiced ball era, but let’s be honest, the balls are still very much juiced, and I think Major League Baseball likes it that way.
Assuming there’s no significant alterations to the ball going into next season, I do not see why this potential lineup could not threaten the Twins’ record of 307. Here’s what I would project each of these player’s home run totals to look like, assuming they stay healthy for most of the season.
- Ronald Acuña Jr. (48)
- Ozzie Albies (29)
- Freddie Freeman (33)
- Austin Riley (40)
- Marcell Ozuna (31)
- Jorge Soler (35)
- Adam Duvall (34)
- Travis d’Arnaud (16)
- Dansby Swanson (26)
Add all of those up, and you get 292 home runs, which means the Braves bench would only have to account for 16+ to break the Twins record.
Now, of course, this is just a fun exercise based on my projections. There’s no telling if Austin Riley will repeat his success from last season, or if Jorge Soler might revert to his old habits. However, the point remains that the Braves have an opportunity to put together one of the most powerful lineups of all time with just a couple of signings once the lockout ends. I understand that, defensively, this wouldn’t the best possible combination, but I would undoubtedly trade in some defense to watch this group mash for 162+ games.