The Atlanta Braves pretty much coasted to a division title this year in the NL East. They are going to come up just short of 100 victories this season, and the main reason for their success can be credited to their pitching. They are first overall in ERA at 3.18 and have probably the best closer in the game in Craig Kimbrel (49 saves, 1.25 ERA).
Those are the obvious numbers, but for the stat-savvy individual, I am here to make the case of how sabermetrics can prove why Braves will win a World Series title. One stat I want to take a look at in particular is LOB percentage. This is left-on-base percentage, which refers to the percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
The Braves are second in all of baseball with a 77.1 percent LOB%. Their bullpen has been lights-out pretty much all year, and their starter’s ERA is also very low because the bullpen comes in and leaves runners stranded. This will be key for a deep postseason run because a lot of pitching changes are made in the middle of innings.
The other key pitching stat for the Braves will be BB percentage. This is walk percentage and is a measure of how often a player walks per plate appearance. The Braves’ staff has the second-best walk rate in all of baseball at 6.9 percent. Not only do the Braves not give up hits, but they don’t let guys on with walks either.
But even if they do, they don’t let them cross home plate.
The Braves will be a tough out this postseason because of their excellent pitching — not only in ERA. Sabermetrics proves it as well.