The Atlanta Braves have some excellent individual players, as outfielder Justin Upton leads the team in home runs (26) and runs scored (92), first baseman Freddie Freeman is first on the squad in RBIs (105) and closer Craig Kimbrel is MLB‘s saves leader (49).
But most importantly, the Braves are a great team, owning a 92-63 record that ranks first in the NL thanks to players who are all about a team-first mentality.
Third baseman Chris Johnson — who has been perhaps the most important player in the lineup not named Freeman or Upton — is another example of such a mindset. Although the 28-year-old currently holds a .329 batting average that puts him just five points behind Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer for the NL lead, he remains humble heading into his first postseason.
“I’m just glad to be where I’m at this late in the season,” Johnson told Mark Bowman of MLB.com of his race for a batting title. “Actually my teammates are thinking about it more than I am … They’re rooting for me more than I’m rooting for myself.”
Statements like that prove that it’s all about where the team ends up, which is great to hear from a guy who is enjoying what is undoubtedly the best season of his career jut one year after Braves legend Chipper Jones chose to hung them up after manning the hot corner for almost two decades.
The rest of his teammates — including the aforementioned Freeman, Upton and Kimbrel — ascribe to the same theory. For Atlanta, the team’s the biggest thing.