A look ahead to the second half of the MLB season: NL Edition

June 29, 2023

Which team is most likely to win the National League pennant?

A recent World Series champion is poised to make another run at a title

The Atlanta Braves were world champions in 2021. It was their first time winning it all since 1995. And they defeated one of the best teams in baseball in the process, knocking off the Houston Astros.

Last year, however, the Braves were not able to get the job done. They lost in the NLDS to the eventual National League pennant winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta’s title defense was short-lived.

This year they look to be back on track. The Braves have the best record in the National League and are the favorites to win the NL Pennant.

As the season’s halfway point comes and goes, the Braves are seemingly just getting started. Atlanta is 53-27, 9-1 in their last 10, 21-4 in the month of June and are on a six-game winning streak. They also have a 99% chance of winning the NL East, according to MLB.com.

Needless to say, the Braves are in a great position and are well on their way to competing in yet another World Series. But what makes this possible? Well, in short, the players do.

Led by Ronald Acuna, Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies, Atlanta has a well-rounded and balanced roster that seems to find a way to win in every game. Acuna is currently the favorite to win the NL MVP award at -190 and his stats prove why. His .331 batting average is second in the league. He has the second-most hits with 107 and the most runs scored by any player with 71.

But the Braves fill the leaderboards even more with Olson. He is first in home runs with 26 and in RBIs with 62. 

The Braves also have one of the best pitchers in the league in Spencer Strider. Strider is 9-2 with a 3.73 ERA and currently has the third-best odds to win the National League’s Cy Young award.

It helps to have four of the best players in baseball on your roster, but the Braves are simply the definition of a team. In their latest series against the Reds, they won two games by a score of 7-6. In the first game, it was Marcell Ozuna’s late homer that lifted the Braves over the top. And in the second game, seven out of nine players were able to get a hit. It’s stats like that that help one realize why the Braves are so good and why they’ve won 18 out of 23 series’ so far this year.

They are a great team led by great players and are hitting their stride at just the right time. When it comes to the National League pennant this year, it would be wise to put your money on the Braves.

Richard DeMala’s pick: Atlanta to win the NL pennant (+190)