May 26, 2024

A seasoned member of the Atlanta Braves roster has voiced discontent regarding ESPN’s recent “Top 100 players in MLB” article. Despite the Braves boasting a lineup rich in veteran talent, some players feel undervalued by rankings that seem to overlook their contributions. While Ozzie Albies’ absence from the MLB Network’s Top 10 Second Basemen list stands out as a prominent example, frustrations extend beyond just Braves players being seemingly misplaced.

Ozzie Albies - Atlanta Braves Second Baseman - ESPN

First baseman Matt Olson took aim at ESPN’s rankings, particularly targeting the placements of three veteran players who experienced subpar performances last season: Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and St. Louis Cardinals infielders Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. Olson expressed incredulity at Trout’s #19 ranking, citing his unparalleled track record of success and contributions to the game over the years. However, Trout’s recent injury woes likely factored into his lower placement, with him having played only a limited number of games in the past few seasons.

Similarly, Arenado and Goldschmidt received lower rankings due to their offensive regressions in 2023. Arenado, typically a consistent performer, saw a dip in his batting average and ended his streak of Gold Glove wins. Goldschmidt, the 2022 NL MVP, also experienced a decline in offensive production, failing to secure his usual accolades. Many MLB players echoed Olson’s sentiments, suggesting that the list unfairly discounted older players who had a down year while elevating young players based on a single good season.

Braves reliever A.J. Minter echoed these sentiments, arguing that his teammate Ozzie Albies was unfairly ranked behind Baltimore Orioles youngster Gunnar Henderson, the recipient of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Minter also advocated for more recognition of relievers in the rankings, citing the dominance of players like Devin Williams.

Moreover, Braves ace Spencer Strider garnered attention for his lower-than-expected ranking, despite his formidable pitching skills. Many believe Strider deserved a higher placement, with some even tipping him as a frontrunner for the NL Cy Young award due to his intimidating fastball and pitching prowess.

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