The Braves (60-29) have been the best team in baseball in 2023. They are setting MLB and team records on the regular. It only makes sense that the Braves have a record number of All-Stars this season. Over the next three days, we will dissect the seasons that have landed the Atlanta 8 at the Mid-Summer Classic.

Today, we look at the Braves’ no-brainer All-Star selections. These three players have been so dominant that they highlight the MVP and Cy Young conversations in the NL. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Sean Murphy are the Senior Circuit MVP front-runners, while Spencer Strider is in the Cy Young hunt.

Ronald Acuna Jr. answers questions at All-Star festivities while teammate Austin Riley has some fun recording the interview.

Acuna is doing things nobody has ever done in Major League Baseball. The National League was founded in 1876, and since the National League’s inception, 20,421 players have appeared in MLB games. Acuna is doing things that 20,420 other players have never done!

Enjoy it, friends, it’s not every season we see history unfold right before our eyes!

It is well-documented that Acuna is the first player with at least 20 homers, 40 steals, and 50 RBI before the All-Star break. The 25 year-old phenom led off the season with a single against the Gnats, immediately stole second, and hasn’t stopped. He leads the NL in WAR (5.0), offensive WAR (4.6), and OPS (.990). Ronald has the most plate appearances (409), runs scored (79), and leads the league in total bases (209). He also has the most stolen bases (41), highest adjusted OPS+ (162), and runs created (91). Finally, Acuna also has been on base (167) more than anyone else, and is hitting .430 in the first inning, scoring 28 first inning runs.

Murphy mashing

Much of Braves country lost its mind when Wild Bill Contreras was traded and Sean Murphy was acquired. Catcher was not a position of need in the Braves system, but Alex Anthopolous is a genius of a special variety.

All Murphy has done is hit .306 with 17 HR and 55 RBI in helping Atlanta be the best team in baseball. He is a 3.7 WAR player the break, has an OPS of .999 and a WRC+ of 164. Murphy was acquired because of his abilities, but his numbers are ridiculous when compared with his career numbers. He has a career 128 WRC+ and an OPS of .798.

In addition to his offensive prowess, he has thrown out 14 of 49 would-be base stealers, and is the best framer in the game.

Strider spinning

Despite two rough outings in the mid-season, Strider has been dominant and the ace the Braves have needed him to be. He is 11-2 with a 3.44 ERA at the break. Strider has struck out 166 hitters in 104.2 innings pitched and a 1.089 WHIP. He has a 14.247 K/9, and WHIFF percentages of 30.1, 56.7, and 50.1 on his fastball, slider, and change.

Heading into the break, Strider has helped the Braves be the best team in baseball by winning his past six decisions, spearheading a staff leading the MLB in ERA (3.60).

Tomorrow’s dive

In tomorrow’s installment, we will look at the deserving selections of Ozzie Albies and Matt Olson. That is not to say that the other three Braves All-Stars are not deserving, their selections just may be a bit surprising.