The Atlanta Braves once again find themselves in the thick of the playoff hunt. Last year, the team's success was fueled mostly by a dominant pitching staff that ranked seventh in baseball in run prevention. The offense, however, was one of the worst in the game, ranking 22nd in run scoring.
This year, the Braves are again the seventh-best run prevention team in the league, but they have benefited from an offense that is currently ranked eighth in all of baseball.
One of the biggest reasons for this turnaround has been the resurgence of Jason Heyward. So far in 2012, the 23-year-old outfielder has posted a triple slash of .279/.353/.494. Compared to his meager .227/.319/.389 in 2011, the young slugger has improved his offensive performance by roughly 35 percent.
Heyward's 132 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) is on par with his performance during his breakout rookie season of 2010.
What accounts for the turnaround?
Simply put, a healthy shoulder and a new approach at the plate.