The unparalleled junior class in 2022 from Braves

Last Newbie of the Year survey among MLB.com employees He had a clear theme on top of the National League results: the Atlanta Braves. With Spencer Strider receiving 31 votes in first place to lead the poll and Michael Harris second with 11, we saw a pattern very likely to reappear in the results of the BBWAA vote for the award in November.

There’s a chance his teammates could finish second on the award, and Braves player Vaughn Grissom, who received votes in an MLB.com poll, could theoretically finish fifth as well. And even apart from the hardware, the output alone from the Braves rookie across the board was particularly notable.

Here are three ways the Braves entry-level class might be unparalleled.

His teammates got many votes

If Strider and Harris finish first and second for New Player of the Year, in what order, of course, would that be the eighth time that has happened since the award began in 1947. The last time it should ring a bell for Braves: It was in 2011, when Craig Kimbrel won unanimously and Freddy Freeman finished second.

Although there have been seven previous instances of team members finishing first and second for New Player of the Year, some additional context is helpful. Prior to 1980, writers’ ballot papers consisted of listing only one award option in their league (or at the MLB level, for the first two years). Since then, the book has ranked in the top three. This is notable because it has lengthened the list of names getting votes, adding contrast and dramatically changing the way we look for second place and beyond.

Of those seven cases, only three have come since the voting change – 2011 Braves, 1989 Cubs (Jerome Walton first, Dwight Smith second) and ’84 Mariners (Alvin Davis, Mark Langston).

The other four are the 1975 Red Sox (Fred Lane, Jim Rice), the 1963 White Sox (Gary Peters, Pete Ward), the 1960 Orioles (Ron Hansen, Chuck Estrada/Jim Gentile tied) and the 1957 Phillies (Jack Sanford, Ed Bush).

In terms of the probability of having three of the top five runners, it has happened four times, but only twice when including the winner. The 1953 Cardinals had Harvey Haddicks second, Ray Jablonski third, and Rip Rypolski fourth. The above sixty Orioles had the only three votes to receive. The 2006 Marlins took home winner Hanley Ramirez, as well as Dan Ugla in third and Josh Johnson in fourth. The ’08 Reds got Joey Foto in second, Edinson Volkes in fourth and Jay Bruce in fifth.

In a team of defending champions

This is not so Just Team with a great beginner class. It’s a team that just won the world championship as well. It got us curious: Did any of the previous teams go 1-2 or were three of the year’s top five rookie players defending champions, or even dropping out of appearances in the post-season?

Only one of the teams mentioned above was in the post-season the previous year: these 2011 Braves, who lost to the eventual world champion Giants in the NLDS.

Let this soak for a moment. If the Braves finish second on the Rookie of the Year list, Atlanta will be the first world champion to do so. The same goes for three of the Big Five.

In fact, only seven players won the award while in the tournament. The last one was Steve Sacks in the 1982 Dodgers, so it’s been a long time. Others: Pat Zachary (1976 Reds), Tom Trish (1962 Yankees), Frank Howard (1960 Dodgers), Tony Kubik (1957 Yankees), Bob Grimm (1954 Yankees) and Jill McDougald (1951 Yankees).

The Braes are not a rookie team to rebuild exciting young talent – they are the world champions who just took first place in their league…with exciting young talent.

Beyond awards history, the Braves lead all MLB teams in WAR, according to FanGraphs, from junior pitchers and up-and-coming hitters. How rare is that? Only three division-era teams (since 1969) have led the top teams in both wars of rookie bowlers and hitters in the same season: the 2021 Rays, 2007 Red Sox and 2006 Marlins. Those brave ones are currently on their way to join them.

Strider leads all Novice hitters with 4.4 WAR and Harris leads Novice hitters with 4.2. If they each finish with at least 4.5 WAR, the Braves will be the fourth team to have two of these rookies in a season since 1900, joining the White Sox (Peters, Ward), the 1924 Pirates (Glenn Wright, Kiki Cuyler) and the Chicago Wales in the Federal League in 1914 (Al Wakeland, Zwilling, Dutch). Among these, the White Sox duo consisted of a pitcher and a hitter.

Whether it’s in the November Rookie of the Year results or the year-end leaderboards, this rookie Braves class is already well on its way to making a lot of history. And who knows what kind of post-season rookie exploits await Strider, Harris and Grissom in October.

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