The Atlanta (Baby) Braves are in first place in the National League East. While Freddie Freeman is once again putting up his usual elite numbers, the story in Atlanta so far this year has been the babies. The Braves currently have the three youngest players in baseball, and they’re all really good. That’s pretty cool.
On Tuesday the team called up 20-year-old pitching prospect Mike Soroka to start against the division rival Mets. Not only did he pitch well (6 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 0 walks, 5 strikeout), but Soroka actually outperformed Noah Syndergaard. Soroka entered 2018 as MLB Pipeline's 30th ranked prospect. He's one of many more babies on their way to Atlanta. Back in February Atlanta had 7 of the top 65 Baseball America ranked prospects.
Soroka's performance came just days after the team began hitting fellow babies Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuña 1-2 in the order. On Sunday the two combined for a home run, 3 doubles, 3 walks, 4 RBIs, 3 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases. It was the continuation of a dominant start to the year for Albies, who entering Thursday leads baseball in extra base hits. He also ranks second in runs and doubles to go along with 9 homers, 3 steals, and a .927 OPS.
As for Acuña, Sunday was the exclamation mark on his coming out party. The 20-year-old top rated prospect in all of baseball is currently hitting .345 with a 1.027 OPS through his first week in the majors. He's also an advanced base runner who is able to make game changing plays on defense. Even with a late start to the year he is the favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year award this season.
Add it all up and the Braves find themselves in first place on May 3rd. Not bad for a rebuilding team to see this level of success so soon. Not bad at all. And while Atlanta is probably due for some regression, their +46 run differential (tops in the NL) says this could be somewhat legit. We saw just last year how an up and coming team like the Yankees can wind up a bit ahead of schedule when their young guys truly break out.
On Thursday afternoon Atlanta will go for the sweep of the Mets. If they succeed it'll be an awesome early season storyline. If not, well the Baby Braves are still coming. The future is extremely bright.