Despite an unfortunate loss on Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Braves have been red-hot in recent days, and as a result, the team tops the standings in the National League East. With that said, this is a loaded roster despite the relative lack of a super star player, and the depth has been rewarded by the fact that three members of Atlanta’s roster have been selected to the 2014 MLB All-Star Game. First baseman Freddie Freeman, starting pitcher Julio Teheran and closer Craig Kimbrel are headed to Minnesota as National League representatives.
The 24-year-old Freeman was selected alongside ???? as the NL first basemen, and he is certainly deserving of the honor. Much of the off-season attention was paid to his massive contract extension, but the sweet swinging left-hander has lived up to the billing with a .294/.385/.501 slash line with 13 home runs on the year. The massive power outbreak hasn’t quite arrived for Freeman at this stage, but even if this production is what we can expect, he will be a yearly candidate for All-Star consideration.
Next, right-hander Julio Teheran garnered the nod after a scorching hot first half. Teheran has exceeded any rational expectation on the way to a 2.29 ERA through 18 starts and 126 innings, and his peripherals show that star-level performance is not unexpected. If the season ended today, it would be a safe bet that Teheran would snatch some Cy Young votes along the way, and he was a no-doubt pick for the squad.
Lastly, closer Craig Kimbrel continues to be a fixture on the National League roster, and with good reason. The flame-throwing right-hander has his “worst” ERA over the past three seasons with a 2.04 mark over the course of 35+ innings, but he has been incredibly dominant. Kimbrel’s strikeout ability remains unparalleled (15.28 batters per 9 innings), and despite a small regression in his walk rate, there is more than enough dominant “stuff” to keep the tremendous performance rolling.
It remains to be seen if the Braves can add any additional representatives (Justin Upton? Evan Gattis? Andrelton Simmons?) through injury waivers or the MLB “fan vote”, but with this trio, Atlanta is certainly in good hands.