MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – What a joy it was Tuesday night to watch four Braves players in the All-Star game.
It shows how far the Braves have come in the rebuilding process to have that many players be among the best in baseball. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis were in the starting lineup. Mike Foltynewicz came in to pitch the fourth inning, and then we later saw Ozzie Albies. Whatever happens the rest of this season, to know the Braves have improved enough to have four players be recognized like that is something.
They started the rebuild three-plus years ago, and here they are at the All-Star Break in year four 10 games over .500 and a half-game out of first place. Since they were in first place for most of the first half of the season, we’re going to be disappointed if they don’t make the playoffs. But shouldn’t we be happy that this much progress has been made no matter what happens?
They have struggled the last five weeks, with a record one game under .500. Maybe they bounce out of this once the season resumes Friday, or maybe they continue to linger around the break-even point. But if you can’t see how this team is on the way up, with a trend in the right direction, I can’t help you.
The Braves have a great young nucleus of talent. They have a MVP candidate at first base in Freeman. Ozzie and Dansby Swanson are a great double-play duo up the middle. Johan Camargo is doing very well as the starting third baseman, and then they have another top prospect behind him in Austin Riley. Ronald Acuna is one of the top young outfielders in the game, and then there’s the pitching. Folty is an All-Star. Sean Newcomb was on his way to being an All-Star before he slowed down a bit. Then there are multiple pitching prospects who could make a difference, even in the second part of the season.
Now, I’m not trying to set you up for a disappointing finish to the year. I just think that no matter what happens, we should appreciate how far this team has come. The All-Stars show that, and there’s no doubt this team will be better than last season.
They are taking those next steps, and there will be plenty more great baseball to enjoy, not only for the next 10 weeks, but for the next decade as well. Braves baseball is back. They are good again, and let’s hope the rebuilding days are over.