The Atlanta Braves currently sit in a playoff spot two months into the season — something very few thought was possible in Spring Training.
Two full months into the season, the Atlanta Braves find themselves firmly positioned in a playoff spot. In fact, an argument can be made that the Braves can continue winning and establish themselves as one of the premiere teams in the National League — playing in a loaded NL East division.
However, as a surprise team, there have certainly been big surprises that have thrust the Braves into this position. Here are the Braves’ biggest surprises so far this 2018 season.
Atlanta Braves biggest surprises: Nick Markakis
Nick Markakis has been arguably the Braves’ biggest surprise so far. Markakis has provided steady offense over the course of his Braves career. However, no one expected that he would produce at a .328/.496/.886 clip through his first 64 games. Markakis’ value has been further enhanced by his ability to avoid strikeouts.
Additionally, Markakis has shown a resurgence in his power, slugging eight homers so far this season. This matches his total for all of last season. He also provides a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse for the younger guys. If he can sustain any level close to his current offensive production, the Braves will gladly take it.
Did you know that Markakis has over 2,000 career MLB hits and boasts a .289 lifetime batting average — yet has never made an MLB All-Star team? It appears the veteran will likely change that this season, an honor well deserved and long overdue.