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Braves Win World Series for the First Time Since 1995 Thanks to a Powerful Roster of Latino Players

Photo courtesy of the guardian.com

No one believed the Atlanta Braves would have a chance at this year’s World Series. Neither analysts nor pundits believed that the team founded in 1953 would have a chance even to make it to the final games.

As The Washington Post rightly explains, injuries robbed them of their potential MVP candidate in July and their ace in October. They were below .500 with two months to go, forced to play better than .600 baseball to make the postseason.

However, the Braves proved their tenacity and resilience. With a 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros, the Atlanta Braves clinched the World Series on Tuesday, their first title since 1995. Thus, the team ended the 14th-longest drought in the Major Leagues.

The secret? Their roster of Latino players:

Orlando Arcia

Photo courtesy of ajc.com Belatina, latinx
Photo courtesy of ajc.com

Orlando Arcia is a Venezuelan professional shortstop who made his Major League debut in 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers and was traded to Atlanta during the 2021 season. On April 6, 2021, the Brewers traded Arcia to the Atlanta Braves for Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka. On July 3, Arcia was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, and in 2021 in the majors, between the two teams, he batted .198/.258/.309 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 81 at-bats.

Ehire Adrianza

Photo courtesy of taljkingchop.com

Ehire Adrianza is another Venezuelan-American professional shortstop. He previously played in the MLB for the San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins.

On January 26, 2021, Adrianza signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves organization and was invited to attend Major League Baseball spring training. On March 27, Adrianza was selected to the 40-man roster, and in 2021, he batted .247/.327/.401 with five home runs and 28 RBIs.

Guillermo Heredia

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Heredia is another star player for the Atlanta Braves. A Cuban professional outfielder, he made his MLB debut in 2016. He previously played for the Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Mets. Heredia bats right and throws left.

On February 24, 2021, Heredia was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves. On April 18, Heredia connected for two home runs, one of them a grand slam, to become the first Braves player to record more than 6 RBIs in a game from the No. 8 spot in the lineup since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920.

In 2021 he batted .220/.311/.354 with five home runs and 26 RBIs.

Ozzie Albies

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Ozhaino “Ozzie” Albies is the second baseman for the Atlanta Braves. This Curacao native signed with the Braves organization in 2013 and made his MLB debut with the team in 2017. During his first full season, Albies was named to the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. In 2019, he won the National League Silver Slugger award for second basemen.

Albies was invited back to spring training at the start of the 2017 season. He was called up later that year on August 1 and made his major league debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On August 3, 2017, against the Dodgers, Albies connected on his first career home run for his first major league hit. Three years later, in the 2021 season, he hit .259/.310/.488 in 629 at-bats (2nd in the NL), with 103 runs (4th), 40 doubles (3rd), seven triples (3rd), 30 home runs, 106 RBIs (3rd), and 128 strikeouts. Albies swung at a higher percentage of pitches in the strike zone than any other major leaguer, with 83.

Jorge Soler

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Jorge Soler is another Cuban professional outfielder on the Braves’ roster. He won the 2016 World Series with the Chicago Cubs, and five years later, would help the Braves capture the title again.

Soler played with the Cuban national baseball team in an international competition. He defected from Cuba in 2011, seeking a career in the MLB. After taking up residence in Haiti, Soler signed a nine-year contract with the Chicago Cubs. He made his MLB debut in 2014. The Cubs traded Soler to the Kansas City Royals after the 2016 season.

On July 30, 2021, Soler was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Kasey Kalich.

In 2021, he batted .223/.316/.432 with 27 home runs and 70 RBIs in 516 opportunities between the Royals and Braves. With the Braves, he hit .269/.358/.524. His home runs averaged 423 feet, the longest average home run distance of any major league hitter.

In his first appearance after spending ten days on the COVID-19 injured list, Soler hit a home run in Game 1 of the 2021 World Series against Framber Valdez, becoming the first player to hit a home run in the first plate appearance of a World Series. In Game 4, Soler hit a home run in the seventh inning to give the Braves a 3-2 lead, pushing them to a 3-1 lead in the World Series. He hit his third home run of the series in the sixth game, a 446-foot, three-run shot to give the Braves a 3-0 lead. Soler thus became the third designated hitter in history to win the World Series MVP award.

Eddie Rosario

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Eddie Rosario is the Puerto Rican left fielder for the Atlanta Braves. After representing Puerto Rico in the 2013 and 2017 editions of the World Classic and overcoming a suspension for banned substance use, he made his Major League debut in 2015.

On July 30, 2021, Rosario was traded to the Atlanta Braves and cash considerations in exchange for Pablo Sandoval. On September 19, he hit for the cycle against the San Francisco Giants. In four at-bats, Rosario saw five pitches, the fewest pitches seen in a cycle since at least the 1990 season. In 2021, between the two teams, he batted .259/.305/.435 with 14 home runs and 62 RBIs.

William Contreras

Photo courtesy of talkingchop.com

William Contreras is another Venezuelan player on the roster of the Atlanta Braves. He is a catcher who made his Major League debut on Opening Day for the Braves in 2020.

Contreras was added to the Braves 40-man roster after the 2019 season. He was invited to summer camp, held before Opening Day of the 2020 season, and was activated on July 24, 2020, making his Major League debut that day as a backup catcher.

His first career hit and run batted in came as a pinch hitter the next day while facing Hunter Strickland. In 2020 he was four-for-10 with a double and an RBI.

On May 5, 2021, Contreras connected on his first career home run against Washington Nationals pitcher Erick Fedde. In 2021, he batted .215/.303/.399 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs.

Jesse Chavez

Photo courtesy of talkingchop.com

Jesse Chavez is one of the pitchers for the Atlanta Braves. Born in California to Mexican parents, Chavez played college baseball at Riverside Community College. The Texas Rangers drafted Chavez in the 42nd round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. He previously played in the MLB for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs.

On April 17, 2021, Chavez signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves organization. On June 24, he was selected to the active roster. In 2021, Chavez was 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA in 30 games (4 starts), in which he pitched 33.2 innings.

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