5. Early Depth Moves Set the Table For Braves Season Long Run
The impact that Ryan Flaherty and Preston Tucker had on the team early is often lost to the fact they struggled the rest of the season. Tucker had a huge impact early on for the team who was waiting on Acuna.
Tucker had 9-XBH’s in the first month and a half of the season along with 18-runs driven in. He only seemed to homer at clutch moments with runners on base. The rest of the season may have been a disappointment for Tucker but the impact he had early shouldn’t be lost.
Ryan Flaherty was the Braves starting third baseman due to early injuries. Flaherty wasn’t known for his prowess at the plate.
Flaherty (A career .216 hitter) lit up the opposing pitching the first month of the season hitting .300 and gathering 24-hits. For the first few weeks of the season, he was at the top of the batting average charts and was a big part of an early offensive explosion for Atlanta.
Flaherty and Tucker may have come back to earth but Anthopoulos deserves plenty of credit for signing the two castoffs. Without Tucker and Flaherty producing the way, they did in the first month the start of the Braves season could have looked very different for the surprise division winner.