Atlanta Braves up for several MLB awards

Braves Spencer Strider revenge

The Atlanta Braves didn’t accomplish their ultimate goal of winning the World Series, but the 2022 campaign was certainly one to remember for several reasons. The club had a magical end to the regular season, catching fire and capturing their fifth-straight NL East title in the last series on their way to 101 wins.

The lineup hit a ton of home runs; Spencer Strider broke Randy Johnson‘s record for the fastest pitcher (not just a rookie) to reach 200 strikeouts, Michael Harris II dazzled in his first major league season, and more. It was one of the most entertaining seasons I can remember, and it’s a shame it ended the way it did. Still, there is plenty to celebrate as several members of the organization are finalists for MLB awards.

Max Fried was electric during the regular season despite a less-than-ideal postseason appearance. The ace of this impressive staff went 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA and 170 strikeouts en route to his first All-Star appearance and third-straight Gold Glove. Fried joins Julio Urías and Sandy Alcantara as finalists, but it really is the Marlins ace’s award to lose. Even though Max Fried turned in the best season of his career, Alcantara should likely win this award. Still, arguably the best lefty in baseball was critical in the Braves chasing down the Mets for the division title, which is a great segway to the next man.

Brian Snitker has proven to be an elite manager. After trailing Buck Showalter‘s club for a vast majority of the season, Snit and his group of grizzled veteran coaches buckled down and calmed the players to seize the team’s fifth-straight NL East title, including a season-ending sweep of the Mets and a 14-game win streak. Snitker’s squad also reached 101 wins — the most in a season since 2003. And they couldn’t have done it without the rookies — Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider.

The pair of rookies were instrumental in the Braves’ season. Before Harris was called up, Atlanta’s outfield was in shambles. The Stockbridge native solidified the defense and even surprised many with his ability in the box. He came as advertised — a five-tool prospect. Harris played Gold Glove defense in center field while hitting .297 with 19 home runs, 20 stolen bags, and leading NL rookies with 5.3 bWAR.

And if it weren’t for Strider, Harris would be the runaway Rookie of the Year. But what the hard-throwing righty did might be even more impressive. He dominated out of the bullpen before solidifying the starting rotation. The 24-year-old went 11-5 with a 2.67 ERA and 202 strikeouts, and if Strider had started in the rotation and maintained those figures, he’d be in the conversation for a Cy Young. Still, the Braves locked both of these stars up during the season. Strider is under team control until 2030 and Harris until 2033. The season may not have ended as Braves Country had hoped, but they will surely celebrate one of these two rookies winning this award.

John Adams/Icon Sportswire

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