The Atlanta Braves proved all the doubters wrong and came away with their second consecutive division title Friday night. This team is loaded and is capable of beating anyone, but that doesn't mean this roster is perfect. Here are three obvious weaknesses for the Braves heading into the postseason.
3. Unreliable Fourth Starter
The Braves have to feel good about their pitching as a whole, especially with the way Mike Foltynewicz has pitched since coming back from Triple-A. But after Dallas Keuchel, Mike Soroka and Foltynewicz, that fourth starter isn't clear. t's been an up and down year for Max Fried, specifically in September where he owns a 6.28 ERA over three starts. Meanwhile, Julio Teheran has tapered off recently, posting a 4.71 ERA over his last four starts, including 10 walks over 21 innings. The back end lacks stability, and the Braves will need someone to step up in October.
2. Lack of Experience in Bullpen
The additions of Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Chris Martin have worked and transformed this Braves bullpen. However, locking it down in the regular season is much different than getting it done in October. Of the bullpen arms that are locked into the postseason roster, only Mark Melancon and Sean Newcomb have ever pitched in the playoffs, totaling just 11 bullpen appearances in October. Experience late in the game could be a problem for Atlanta, especially if they matchup against a Dodger team that is littered with experience in October.
1. Ronald Acuna Jr.'s Propensity to Swing and Miss
I know Ronald Acuna Jr. is arguably the best young player in the sport but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a weakness-- and a pretty glaring one at that. Acuña leads all of baseball with a whopping 185 strikeouts, as well as owning a strikeout percentage of 26.1 percent, both numbers that are very concerning, particularly for a leadoff hitter. Atlanta needs their phenom to be on base as frequently as possible, but if he's not putting the ball in play, he's doing more harm than good atop the order.