With 16 games in the books for the Atlanta Braves, about 10 percent of the season is complete. Well, technically the 10-percent mark wouldn’t happen until sometime in the first inning of tonight’s game against the Padres, but that’s a weird time to write a post. So let’s have some fun with small sample sizes now, shall we?
What’s important to know about this exercise is that it is absolute science. No matter how absurd or mundane the extrapolation results are here, these players will absolutely live up to their current paces. With that said, let’s see how some of these 160-game paces work out.
Matt Olson, 50
Ronald Acuna Jr., 30
Ozzie Albies, 30
Sean Murphy, 30
Austin Riley, 30
Perhaps the wildest thing about all of this is that this isn’t that absurd. While maybe Olson doesn’t stay on a 50-homer pace for the rest of the season, Riley or Ronald could easily pick their pace up and meet their first baseman at 40. Further, while Acuña is not currently on any 40-40 or 50-50 pace, he is on track to steal 70 bases, so I think we’d all settle for 30-70. And with guys like Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Harris sitting on the IL with no home runs, and Vaughn Grissom and Orlando Arcia both capable of clearing 20 or so if they get significant playing time, this particular stat could be fun to watch all year.
Manny Ramirez holds the record for most RBIs in a single season since World War II at 165 in 1999, so it would be incredibly fun to see Olson clear that mark. And frankly, if he keeps up his current 1.070 OPS and guys like Acuña keep getting on base ahead of him, it’s hard to see where the ceiling might be in this regard. From a team perspective, having four guys clear 100 RBIs for a season would be incredibly cool, and Riley lurking with 90 could add a fifth if the offense stays hot.
To add to how incredibly this offense has been clicking so far this year, let’s look at individual runs scored. Granted, Arcia is on the shelf for a few weeks, but these numbers would’ve placed all four of these guys in the top 10 in runs scored last season. For Acuña, 160 runs would be the most runs for any player since sometime in the 1930s.
This is maybe the most fun statistic of all of this group for history’s sake. Just seven players have ever recorded 250 or more hits, and just one man has done it since 1930. That would, of course, be Ichiro Suzuki in his record-setting 2004 campaign that saw him notch 262 hits. While some of these other great paces would still need to pick up dramatically to approach a record, Ronald is actually not far off from an all-time pace and doesn’t even seem to be fully heated up yet.
Spencer Strider, 270
Bryce Elder, 170
It felt important to include at least one pitching category, and while Elder and Charlie Morton both being on track for 20 wins is fun, that might be a little too “small sample size,” even for me. So let’s go with strikeouts, where Strider’s pace would well exceed his impressive 202-K rookie campaign. Now, that doesn’t come anywhere near setting a league record, but recent years suggest it would probably be good for a top-5 finish in all of baseball and might even lead the league when all is said and done. Further, his current innings pace isn’t ridiculous at 160 innings, so that’s definitely sustainable.
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