While the Braves do not have a MVP candidate, their lineup, when healthy, is as deep as anyone’s in the game. To show that, I did a Play Index search for this year’s teams to see who had the most position players with at least 1.5 WAR so far.
|2||2012||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||AL||6|
|4||2012||Toronto Blue Jays||AL||6|
|6||2012||Boston Red Sox||AL||5|
|10||2012||St. Louis Cardinals||NL||5|
|11||2012||Chicago White Sox||AL||4|
|13||2012||Kansas City Royals||AL||4|
|15||2012||New York Mets||NL||4|
|17||2012||Tampa Bay Rays||AL||4|
|24||2012||Los Angeles Dodgers||NL||3|
|25||2012||New York Yankees||AL||3|
|26||2012||San Francisco Giants||NL||3|
|29||2012||San Diego Padres||NL||2|
It’s amazing to see how little records correlate with this list. The A’s, Giants, Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers, and Orioles are all above .500 yet near the bottom of the list. It’s also weird to see the Indians, Twins, and Mariners towards the top. The all-time record for a team is ten, done 14 times, last by the 116-win 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Rays were able to get nine players to reach that mark last season.
There are a couple caveats to this table, but for the most part, it shows the lack of a hole by position. Andrelton Simmons makes the list, mostly due to a freakishly high defensive rating. 1.5 is a fairly arbitrary number cherry-picked to provide the best case for my point. It also doesn’t mean there isn’t ever a hole in the lineup at a certain time (yes, Uggla, that is directed towards you).
I think it’s more surprising having a NL team so high, since there is no DH to help pad the totals. It has been an interesting year for the Braves, not relying on pitching nearly as much as years past. However, this great balance gives the Braves multiple ways to make up for the lost pitching.