The Braves are set to have another excellent team in 2023. The lineup is one of the deepest in baseball; the starting rotation is projected to once again be the top of the league in production, and the bullpen is as loaded as ever. With Spring Training right around the corner, this is the perfect time to look at FanGraphs‘ projections for the 2023 season, continuing my series and moving to the relief core. Below are the previous parts of the series.
- First Base
- Second Base
- Third Base
- Left Field
- Center Field
- Right Field
- Starting Rotation
The Braves will be without Will Smith, Kenley Jansen, and Tyler Matzek, among others, in 2023. However, it’s still primed to be one of the best in the business. Rasiel Iglesias is the assumed closer because he’s done it before. And why shouldn’t he? The former Angels closer posted a 4.04 ERA in 35.2 innings before the trade. Once he arrived in Atlanta, he was untouchable. Through 28 games with the Braves, Iglesias posted an eye-popping 0.34 ERA.
A.J. Minter is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.06 ERA over 70 innings. He struck out over a third of the batters he faced and had a sub-1.000 WHIP. Collin McHugh had an impressive 2022 campaign too — 2.60 ERA with a 0.938 WHIP over 69.1 innings. Kirby Yates returns after a lackluster 2022 season in which he posted an ERA over 4.00, and the new kids on the block are Joe Jimenez and Lucas Luetge.
Luetge had a 2.71 ERA over the last two seasons for New York and throws a baffling curveball. He also went more than an inning in 16 of his 50 appearances last season. The former Yankee isn’t some hard thrower; he’s closer to the type of pitcher McHugh is — one that induces a ton of soft contact. Jiménez is coming off a career year, posting a 3.49 ERA, and his 2.00 FIP suggests he’s in line for some positive regression.
Then, there are guys like Dylan Lee, Dennis Santana, Nick Anderson, Jesse Chavez, and Jackson Stephens. The Braves bullpen is as deep as any in baseball; in fact, FanGraphs projects them to accrue more WAR than any other unit in 2023, with Minter (1.1) and Iglesias (1.0) accounting for the majority. Brian Snitker will once again have a myriad of weapons at his disposal at the end of games.
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