Power Rankings: Braves have power, pitching, defense to win it all

by | Baseball Writer

We've seen this Braves song and dance many times before, haven't we?

The running away with the NL East Braves tune, that is. From 1995-2005, the Braves won the East every single season. They won it by 21 games in 1995 and at least 10 games four other times.

As we head into Aug. 14, the Braves hold a 14-game lead with 42 games left. If they keep playing well, it's entirely possible they end up with their biggest margin of victory ever in winning the NL East title -- surpassing that 21-game margin. Also, I can't help but think about the fact that the aforementioned '95 team won the World Series.

Do these Braves have what it takes?

Yes. Yes they do.

It's one of the most well-rounded teams in the majors. They have power, good defense, good starting pitching and an excellent bullpen. What they've done so far is in spite of Justin Upton not being as good as he can, B.J. Upton hitting terribly, Jason Heyward struggling for much of the season, losing Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to season-ending injuries and Brandon Beachy just now getting healthy.

Any regression from someone like Chris Johnson should be mitigated by the Uptons and Heyward coming around. In just glancing at the roster and how it's built, there doesn't seem to be much weakness that could derail them, aside from the flukiness of a short playoff series.

Still, looking toward the playoffs, we're talking about a very powerful offense with a playoff rotation of Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Beachy and Julio Teheran in front of a dominant back-end of the bullpen. Power, good rotation and great bullpen is generally a winning combination for October. We'll see how things shake out soon enough, but for now the Braves are on the short list of World Series favorites.

Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyder27) or via email: matt.snyder@cbs.com. These were posted the morning of Aug. 14. Any action coming after posting wasn't included here -- a fact that seems to escape many people later in the week.


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