It’s not been the prettiest of beginnings for the 2021 Atlanta Braves. The Braves have Max Fried, Drew Smyly, Chris Martin, Sean Newcomb, Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, Ender Inciarte, and Cristian Pache on the IL. To add to that, both Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies are day-to-day and could very well be put on the IL if their injuries prove annoying. That’s a lot to deal with in the initial 10% of the season. After typing that, it feels like this team is lucky to be 7-9. After last night’s home run extravaganza, the Braves now lead the majors in home runs at 26 and are 4th in OPS. Today’s piece, Braves Offensive Statcast Data, will look at the individual performances of each offensive player through the Statcast lens and offer optimism for where this offense can land by season’s end.

Ronald Acuna Jr.

  • Average Exit Velo: 98th Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 93rd Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 94th Percentile

Breakdown: Acuna is the best player in the league right now and even a .413 BABIP seems sustainable with his speed.

Ozzie Albies

  • Average Exit Velo: 55th Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 30th Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 45th Percentile

Breakdown: Bottom line…Albies has lost his plate discipline early on. His chase rate ranks in the bottom 4% and that’ll screw with everything. It doesn’t help matters that he’s only faced a LHP 8 times thus far.

Freddie Freeman

  • Average Exit Velo: 90th Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 78th Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 78th Percentile

Breakdown: Freddie is in the bottom 4th percentile in Outs Above Average, yet carries a .930 OPS. As soon as the .178 BABIP gets back to normal, Freddie will once again be a top 4-5 hitter in the league.

Marcell Ozuna

  • Average Exit Velo: 70th Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 59th Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 51st Percentile

Breakdown: I hope that 2020 wasn’t an outlier for Mr. Ozuna as that would be a tough break for the Braves. He’s carrying a .342 BABIP but K-rate has jumped 7% and launch angle has increased 4%, which combined with the lower hard hit rate, is not optimal.

Travis D’Arnaud

  • Average Exit Velo: 71st Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 74th Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 45th Percentile

Breakdown: What happens when a league average hitter with good hard hit rate has a .411 BABIP over 184 PAs? You get 2021. What happens when that hard hit rate drops below league average? You get a league average BABIP and a league average hitter becomes a league average hitter again. I expect Travis to be an .800 OPS guy by season’s end, but it was always a pipedream for him to duplicate 2020 in a full season.

Dansby Swanson

  • Average Exit Velo: 72nd Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 58th Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 78th Percentile

Breakdown: Look, I don’t know what’s going on with Dansby, but 2 things via Statcast jump out at me. First, he’s significantly slower in 2021 and with his hard hit rate, that is less than good and will cause a drop in BABIP. Second, his K-rate is slightly less than 30%. Both will have to improve or Dansby’s 2021 will mirror the rest of his career and not his 2020 numbers.

Austin Riley

  • Average Exit Velo: 7th Percentile
  • Barrel Rate: 15th Percentile
  • Hard Hit %: 34th Percentile

Breakdown: No need to break it down…it broke already. Riley’s launch angle has plummeted and that is the opposite of good. If Chipper Jones was brought in to help Riley and messed with his swing to mimic his own, that would also be the opposite of good. It’s early, but hitting to contact is not the path Austin should be venturing down. If this continues, I expect Riley to take a trip to AAA when their season begins.

Notes on Non-Qualifiers

Cristian Pache: The only thing we’ve really seen from Pache is that he can run fast and he’s a superb defender. The bat has looked lost. Granted, the Braves have faced what seemed to be 100 MPH pitchers daily and that’s hard for anyone to adjust to, especially rookies with 100ish ABs at AAA.

Ehire Adrianza: Surpassing everyone’s expectations, Adrianza has optimized his launch angle and that has made a huge difference. However, I’d be lying if I said I expect his early success to continue. Still…it’s been nice.

Pablo Sandoval: Pablo is putting his weight into it. He’s simply demolishing the baseball with an average exit velocity of 100MPH. The thing is…he was hitting the ball hard last year as well, but had no launch angle. Has Kevin Seitzer helped?

Guillermo Heredia: He’s also mashing the ball, with an average exit velocity of 96.2 MPH. This is a nice surprise, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…with offseason programs like Driveline, players can be remade in a summer.

Thanks for reading “Braves Offensive Statcast Data”. If you enjoyed this piece, you might also find our Game Recaps very entertaining.