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Led By Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves Are The Class Of The NL East

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Led By Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves Are The Class Of The NL East


For the rest of this week, I’ll continue to take a look at the Opening Day true-talent rankings of the 30 MLB clubs on a division-by-division basis. While the rankings are based on actual 2023 batted-ball data, off-season player movement and potential impact of 2024 rookies will be addressed. We looked at the AL East, AL Central and AL West last week. Today, it’s the NL East.

1 – Atlanta Braves – ”Tru” Talent Record = 105-57 – Offensive Rating = 131.7 (1st), Pitching Rating = 93.5 (9th), Defensive Rating = 103.3 (26th) IN: LHP Chris Sale, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, LF Jarred Kelenic, CF Adam Duvall; OUT: 2B Vaughn Grissom, RHP Kyle Wright, RHP Nick Anderson, RHP Michael Soroka, UT Nicky Lopez, RHP Michael Tonkin

The Braves offense was historically loaded last season and has a chance to be just as good or better in 2024. If they can fix Kelenic, cutting his Ks while keeping the thunderous contact, watch out. Ronald Acuna Jr.’s 2023 was even better than advertised – he sharply cut his K rate while absolutely destroying the baseball – he’ll serve as the blueprint for the former Mariner. Their starting pitching projects to improve, with the return of a healthy Max Fried, the addition of the high-upside Sale, and the rejuvenation of Reynaldo Lopez, who has been brilliant this spring. This is a win-now group, hence the return of young starters Bryce Elder and A.J. Smith-Shawver to the minors, at least to begin the season. Everyone crows about the Dodgers, but this bunch is even better on paper.

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2 – Philadelphia Phillies – ”Tru” Talent Record = 94-68 – Offensive Rating = 101.5 (12th), Pitching Rating = 88.1 (2nd), Defensive Rating = 97.4 (8th) IN: UT Whit Merrifield, RHP Spencer Turnbull; OUT: 1B Rhys Hoskins, RHP Craig Kimbrel

The Phils kind of get lost behind the mighty Braves, but it must be remembered that this group has ousted their divisional rivals from the postseason in both 2022 and 2023. They are even more status-quo and win-now than the Braves, with comparatively little player turnover this offseason. Their pitching doesn’t get enough ink – when you can pencil in 400+ strong innings from anchor starters Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, that’s a sturdy contending foundation. The closer role is turned over to lefty Jose Alvarado, whose upside is higher than the departed Kimbrel. Like the Braves, the Phils have little time for youngsters and rookies – CF Johan Rojas is about as green as the Phils get, and his combo of elite defense and an improved bat is enticing.

3 – Miami Marlins – ”Tru” Talent Record = 82-80 – Offensive Rating = 95.5 (21th), Pitching Rating = 92.3 (7th), Defensive Rating = 101.9 (21st) IN: SS Tim Anderson, C Christian Bethancourt; OUT: DH Jorge Soler, LHP Matt Moore, RHP David Robertson, UT Joey Wendle, UT Garrett Hampson

I’ve got a bad feeling about this team. They were a good pitching/bad offense team to begin with, and did little to improve their weakness while their strength is being ravaged by injury. Their hospital rotation of Sandy Alcantara, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett and Eury Perez is far better than the healthy one led by Jesus Luzardo, converted reliever A.J. Puk and Trevor Rogers. The offense was better down the stretch last season after the acquisitions of Josh Bell and Jake Burger, but they’ll be hard-pressed to repeat their post-trade rate stats. RF Jesus Sanchez could be poised for a breakthrough campaign, and Tanner Scott is an underrated closer. Besides Perez, youthful contributors could include SS Xavier Edwards and LHP Ryan Weathers. I don’t see the Fish as a playoff contender this time around.

4 – New York Mets – ”Tru” Talent Record = 76-86 – Offensive Rating = 102.0 (11th), Pitching Rating = 101.9 (20th), Defensive Rating = 106.3 (28th) IN: CF Harrison Bader, RF Tyrone Taylor, RHP Luis Severino, RHP Adrian Houser, UT Joey Wendle, LHP Sean Manaea, RHP Michael Tonkin, DH Ji-Man Choi; OUT: RHP Trevor Gott

Interesting group. They were an overpriced, overhyped disaster in the first half of 2023, and then pivoted to an overhaul which they executed quite perfectly. The Mets were the rare team to admit their mistakes and eat the financial cost. They are now loaded with young players who will be part of the next strong Met club – from C Francisco Alvarez, 3Bs Brett Baty and Mark Vientos, and trade deadline acquisitions SS Luisangel Acuna and OFs Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford. The starting pitching depth remains a concern, but the team defense should be greatly improved with Bader in center, and Brandon Nimmo, a second legit CF, in left. The franchise anchors remain SS Francisco Lindor and 1B Pete Alonso, whose contract situation will need to be settled soon, one way or the other. With any semblance of quality starting pitching, the return of closer Edwin Diaz could enable this bunch to sneak into the wild card race.

5 – Washington Nationals – ”Tru” Talent Record = 60-102 – Offensive Rating = 88.2 (28th), Pitching Rating = 117.9 (29th), Defensive Rating = 97.4 (9th) IN: UT Nick Senzel, OF Joey Gallo, OF Jesse Winker; OUT: None

The Nats are also a status-quo group, but their near-term outlook is markedly different from the Braves or Phillies. Their lineup should be a tad more potent with the addition of Gallo and the continued maturation of SS C.J. Abrams, but that could be offset by the return to earth of RF Lane Thomas, whose batted ball metrics don’t come close to supporting his 2023 production. On the pitching side, they’re basically running out the same cast of characters, with Josiah Gray their best hope for a positive breakthrough. There should be some help coming from the minors before too long, as OF James Wood has superstar upside and 3B Brady House and LHP D.J. Herz could be ready to contribute by season’s end. For now, however, the Nationals remain also-rans.

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Atlanta, GA

18-year-old shot in leg in Carroll Heights neighborhood, Atlanta police say

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18-year-old shot in leg in Carroll Heights neighborhood, Atlanta police say


ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – Atlanta police said an 18-year-old teenager was shot in the leg Wednesday.

Police said officers responded to 3651 Croft Place NW around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. There, they found an 18-year-old with a gunshot wound to his right leg.

Police said the shooting happened after the teenager “was in a verbal dispute with the suspect which escalated into gunfire.”

The teen was taken to the hospital alert, conscious and breathing, according to police.

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Atlanta, GA

Atlanta United celebrates HBCU Night in a big way  | Atlanta United FC

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Atlanta United celebrates HBCU Night in a big way  | Atlanta United FC


On Sunday, April 14, Atlanta United honored black excellence, culture, and the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Before and during half time of the match against the Philadelphia Union, multiple festivities took place for HBCU night, including a step dance and drumline performance by Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College bands.





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Atlanta, GA

TideIllustrated – The latest from Alabama commit Darrell Johnson at Rivals Camp Atlanta

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TideIllustrated  –  The latest from Alabama commit Darrell Johnson at Rivals Camp Atlanta










The Latest From Alabama Commit Darrell Johnson At Rivals Camp Atlanta – TideIllustrated

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A pair of elite Alabama Class of 2025 linebacker pledges were in attendance for Rivals Camp Atlanta on Sunday. Along with Luke Metz, four-star LB Darrell Johnson showed off his skills and gave an u…

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