The maximum value of Max Fried

Which only shows that nobody knows anything about young guns. Today, Fried ranks third among MLB pitchers – behind Miami’s Sandy Alcantara and Texas’ Martin Perez – in the Baseball Reference WAR. His ERA for May was 3.16. For June it is 0.64. He is the #1 seed for the reigning World Series champions. He was the winning clincher pitcher in the World Series.

He’s not a point starter. He is not a long helper. He is the ace.

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About the MLB playoffs

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson gets high fives in the dugout and hits an RBI double from Travis d’Arnaud to shoot out in the third inning of an MLB baseball game Thursday, 9 Atlanta. The Braves beat the Pirates 3-1. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson gets high fives in the dugout and hits an RBI double from Travis d’Arnaud to shoot out in the third inning of an MLB baseball game Thursday, 9 Atlanta. The Braves beat the Pirates 3-1. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

The hot-hot-hot Braves shaved 2-1/2 games off the Mets’ division lead over three days. Even more notable, they nearly tied with San Francisco for the third National League wild card. (You’re 0.002 behind.) This is the race to watch.

It’s possible the Braves won’t catch the Mets. What matters is that they finish no worse than sixth among the NL clubs. It’s hard to imagine them finishing worse than sixth.

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About JohnCollins

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins jumps to the basket during the first period of an NBA basketball game to slam against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins jumps to the basket during the first period of an NBA basketball game to slam against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins jumps to the basket during the first period of an NBA basketball game to slam against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Photo credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Rumors of the Hawks’ deal with John Collins have once again gained traction. Portland is said to be interested, and the Trail Blazers hold the #7 pick in the draft. Philadelphia, which got rid of Ben Simmons but seems stuck with James Harden, is mentioned as another possible target.

What the Hawks do with Collins – who owes $74 million over the next three seasons – will tell us a lot. GM Travis Schlenk has chastised himself for keeping the team together after his run to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals. Collins re-upping was an important part of that.

This is the tricky part of rebuilding. It’s not difficult to attract a bunch of young players. It’s harder to find young players who mesh. For a few weeks in 2021, the Hawks appeared to have succeeded. Now they are less sure.

After Oklahoma City reached the 2012 NBA Finals with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden, it looked like Oklahoma City was destined for greatness beyond measure. Harden was traded to Houston four months later. OKC had three players named league MVP, and not much came of it. The Hawks, who have already left Cam Reddish, are on a similar watch.

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About the NBA Finals

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) dives the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals of Basketball, Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Credit: Michael Dwyer

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter of Game 3 of the Basketball NBA Finals Wednesday, June 8, 2022 in Boston.  (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Credit: Michael Dwyer

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) dives the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals of Basketball, Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Credit: Michael Dwyer

Credit: Michael Dwyer

I would never say the Warriors don’t stand a chance, although I like those chances less with every game. The difference between Golden State and Boston is that one of them has Al Horford. If I remember correctly, the Hawks used to have Al Horford.

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