Braves, Ronald Acuna, Alex Anthopoulos discussed on ESPN Daily

ESPN Daily


Jeff, when I look at the Atlanta Braves of 2021, the name that comes to mind still is the name of the guy who is not available. And that's of course Ronald Acuna junior. They're superstar. They're all world outfielder. Who we've talked to you about for a long time on this show. He's been out since July because of a knee injury. How did that knee injury inadvertently paved the way for the braves to get to this World Series? So this happened when we were in Denver at the All-Star Game. And that night. We had a big ESPN dinner and I remember getting a text, just said ACL. And I was like, oh God, no. Breaking news here on SportsCenter Ronald Acuna junior will need to undergo season ending surgery after an MRI showed a complete tear of his right ACL. I think I'd add a glass of wine and I gotta go on SportsCenter. And I'm setting up my computer in my hotel room. It's a total debacle at that point. And I say this to set up the fact that I believe on SportsCenter that night, I said, this almost certainly means that the Atlanta Braves come the July 30th trade deadline will be sellers. If the braves are going to be anything at this deadline, it's going to be a team that is trading players away rather than looking to acquire. What I didn't know was Alex anthopoulos, the president of baseball operations for the Atlanta Braves. Believed in this team still. And so you lose Acuna, a top 5 player in baseball. You're pitching SAP as a question mark, your bullpen kinda stinks. All these things, and the fact that you're behind the mets in the standings, lead one to believe potentially that, yeah, you know, maybe this isn't just our year. But Alex anthopoulos does not operate that way. And he went out and started by getting jock Peterson and continued by completely remaking his outfield. A point of weakness for the team all season long on the fly. Atlanta essentially remade its team for a bunch of low level, high risk prospects, non prospects, or in one case, just straight cash. And the way that they were able to maneuver and end up with what they've got now is one of the more incredible stories of trade deadline maneuvering, I've seen in my almost 20 years covering baseball. And Jeff, like in your defense here, right? When you look at the regular season standings, I mean, it does not foretell dominance from these Atlanta Braves, right? I mean, ten teams made these playoffs and of those ten teams, nobody had a worse record than the braves. Nobody Toronto, Seattle, they won more games than Atlanta they missed the playoffs. I mean, you can go down the list and all these mathematical comparisons to make the point. So how did this team full of a bunch of groceries that nobody thought would amount necessarily to this feast? How do they get past the Dodgers who won a 106 games? How do they get past them in the NLCS? I want to start by saying if, you know, we can look at record, but we also should look at Ron differential. The brakes had a plus one 34 run differential. It was better than Milwaukee was better than St. Louis. It was better than your Yankees. It was better than the Red Sox. So this wasn't like some kind of scrub ass team that just backed its way through a poor division into a playoff spot. We have to remember what the braves do have. And we talked about the great infield of the Houston Astros. Atlantis got a pretty great infield itself with Freddie Freeman first base, Ozzie albee's second base dance be Swanson at short and Austin Riley, who's in the midst of an extreme breakout year at third. They've got Travis darno behind the plate. They've got starting pitching. Certainly all you need is three starters it seems these days. And they've got Charlie Morton. Ian Anderson and the best of the three this year max freed. And what they've got in the bullpen is what made the difference Pablo between them advancing to the World Series and them being just another braves team in a long line of them to flame out. And the idea that I would be sitting here and talking about the Atlanta Braves bullpen being a strength. When the most constant thing in September and early October was Will Smith trending on Twitter, and we're not talking for like getting jiggy with it Pablo. No, Jeff, we're talking about no, we're talking about Will Smith Atlanta's closer. Who, over the last month of the season, was like a walking nitroglycerin prescription. I mean, if you watched Will Smith, at the end of games, your chance of a heart attack went up by a good 75%. And the fact that that guy has not given up a run, this postseason. The fact that the Tyler Matic, who was almost out of baseball a couple of years ago, had the yips has turned into this absolute monster leaver. The fact that AJ minter hasn't given up, this is like nasty boys two. And the braves, they're just full of surprises. At the beginning of the playoffs, if you had told me that Atlanta was going to advance the World Series, I would have thought that completely crazy things would have needed to happen in order to make that a reality. And the truth Pablo is that nothing crazy really happened. They were just better than the Dodgers. But one of the things I do feel like qualifies as crazy, Jeff, is the fact that the NLCS MVP is Eddie Rosario. And on that, I mean, I think of what was said after his home run in game 6 against the Dodgers a three run Homer by Eddie Rosario. He just electrified this crowd and the braves have a four one lead. Who is Eddie Rosario and where the hell did he come from? So I come to you, Jeff. On the eve of the World Series to ask you exactly the same question. Who the hell is he? And where the hell did he come from? Eddie Rosario is a 30 year old left Fielder from Puerto Rico. And more than a decade ago, he was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the draft and sort of slowly worked his way up the chain, stuck in the big league because he could hit a little bit. He's a guy who had 30 plus home runs one year who is famous for not walking, like ever. He's just a free.

Coming up next