3 Reasons The Braves Are In The Midst Of A Gnarly World Series Hangover

by 24USATVMay 7, 2022, 8 p.m. 20
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The Atlanta Braves are off to a difficult 2022 campaign following their World Series victory over the Astros from a season ago. Atlanta will likely be fine down the stretch, but it is clear they are in the midst of a World Series hangover in the post-Freddie Freeman era. Teams often struggle out of the gates following a season in which they won a championship in their respective sport. Sports fans tend to refer to them as hangovers, hence the Braves World Series hangover.

So what has led to their poor play? Today, we are taking a look at 3 reasons Atlanta is laboring in 2022.

The Braves had a leader to rely on last season when times were tough. When Ronald Acuna Jr went down with injury mid-season in 2021, Freddie Freeman was there to gather the troops and lead them to a postseason run despite the circumstances. It was one of the prime examples of why Freeman was such a valuable piece to the puzzle in Atlanta.

Sure, he was a great player on the diamond. But he brought a certain type of character that people respected and wanted to follow. Freeman wasn’t a forceful leader, but people gravitated to him.

It is unclear who that guy is now for the Braves. Some people believed Dansby Swanson could step into that role and maybe he has. But Swanson has his own individual struggles to worry about this season. Ronald Acuna Jr is another candidate but he is just 24-years old.

The changing of the guard has no obvious answer in Atlanta and it is wearing on the Braves.

Issues on Both Sides of the Ball

The Braves early-season struggles aren’t a product of bad play on just one side of the ball. Rather, they are laboring at the plate and on the mound.

Atlanta owns a 24th placing ranking in team batting average and 21st place ranking in OBP. But the Braves are also just 23rd in team ERA and 21st in WHIP.

Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna, and Dansby Swanson are all off to disappointing starts at the plate this season. They are all hitting under .240 and are clearly trying to figure things out with the bat. Albies and Ozuna have at least produced some pop, as Albies has 6 home runs and Ozuna is at 4. But Swanson has just 2 home runs. We will have more on Swanson later.

Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton have endured rocky starts on the mound. The right-handers should be okay, and their struggles are probably due to the aforementioned World Series hangover.

Braves Need to do Something About Dansby Swanson

Almost every good team has a good shortstop. It is one of those things that isn’t a fact but seems true in most scenarios. And I believe Dansby Swanson possesses as much natural talent as anybody at the position. But things simply are not clicking for the 28-year old in his contract season.

The Braves may decide to let Swanson walk in free agency this offseason if he can’t turn things around. He currently has a team high 37 strikeouts and an underwhelming .237/.308/.398 slash line. His 35.6 percent strikeout rate is by far the highest of his career. He is still hitting the ball hard over 42 percent of the time, but the problem has been simply hitting the ball.

Swanson’s numbers will probably even out but the Braves will be forced to potentially make a big move at shortstop this season if his extreme strikeout issues persist.

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