Alex Anthopoulos of the Atlanta Braves may be the smartest team executive operating in the major leagues today.
Since taking over prior to the 2018 season, he’s consistently had the Braves in contention, culminating of course in the 2021 World Series victory. This year, his Braves hit the season’s half way point at 54-27, that being the majors’ second best record.
Does Anthopoulos deserve credit for that on-field performance? The data shows that he certainly does.
Grading the Atlanta Braves at the midway point of the 2023 season
What follows is a mid-term assessment of the Braves’ personnel decisions since the conclusion of the 2022 World Series with a particular focus on the extent to which those decisions have helped or hindered the team’s performance.
The standard of measurement is Wins Above Average (WAA), a variant of Wins Above Replacement (WAR). For this purpose, WAA is preferable because unlike WAR, it is zero-based. That means the sum of all the decisions made by Anthopoulos impacting the 2023 team gives at least a good estimate of the number of games those moves have improved (or worsened) the team’s status this season.
A team’s front office impacts that team’s standing in five ways. Those five are:
1. By the impact of players it acquires from other teams via trade, purchase or waiver claim.
2. By the impact of players it surrenders to other teams in those same transactions.
3. By the impact of players it signs at free agency or extends.
4. By the impact of players it loses to free agency or releases.
5. By the impact of players it promotes from its own farm system.
Here’s how Anthopoulos stacks up by those five yardsticks.