The Braves are set to have one of the most lethal starting rotations in baseball. Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton all return to give Atlanta one of the best 1-4 in baseball. The fifth spot in the rotation will be a competition between Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, and Bryce Elder. 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 starting pitchers. Below are the previous parts of the series:
The Braves 2022 team was better than the one that won the World Series because of its pitching. Max Fried is a certified Ace and possibly the best lefty on the planet. He’s a bulldog on the mound, and the California native solidified his place among the best in baseball last year, finishing second in the NL Cy Young race, boasting a career-best 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, and 5.9 WAR.
Kyle Wright was a revelation last year. Over his previous four seasons, he pitched 21 regular season games, posting a 2-8 record with a 6.56 ERA. In 2022, Wright recorded an eye-popping 21 wins to only five losses with a 3.19 ERA over 30 starts and 180.1 innings. And Spencer Strider was even better
Strider was the fastest pitcher ever to record 200 strikeouts, breaking Randy Johnson‘s record. He struck out over a third of the batters he faced and became the first pitcher to record 200 strikeouts without giving up 100 hits. He could’ve won the Cy Young award as a rookie had he not begun the season in the bullpen.
Charlie Morton struggled in 2022, but it’s fair to blame the combination of his broken fibula that he suffered during the 2021 World Series and the MLB lockout, which prohibited him from rehabbing with the team, as a reason for the letdown. Morton finished with a 4.34 ERA and 4.26 FIP, but his season was a tale of two stories.
In his first 12 starts, Morton posted a 5.67 ERA and only went at least six innings twice. In the next 19 starts, Morton posted a 3.63 ERA, 10 of which he went at least six innings. So, one could assume the injury and unusual offseason hampered him during the beginning of the season, and it just took him longer to get into his groove.
The final spot in the rotation will come down to Soroka, who hasn’t pitched in a major league game in over two years, Anderson, who turned in the worst campaign of his career in 2022, and Elder, who doesn’t project to be anything more than a back-of-the-rotation guy.
FanGraphs predicts the Braves rotation to be the fourth-best in baseball next season, accruing 14.4 WAR — Fried (3.2), Wright (2.4), Morton (2.6), Strider (3.7), Soroka (1.0), Anderson (0.6), Elder (0.5), etc. Below are the individual projections.
- Max Fried: 190 IP, 3.58 ERA, 3,50 FIP
- Kyle Wright: 184 IP, 3.94 ERA, 3.77 FIP
- Charlie Morton: 166 IP, 3.80 ERA, 3.63 FIP
- Spencer Strider: 154 IP, 3.10 ERA, 2.93 FIP
- Mike Soroka: 92 IP, 4.21 ERA, 4.03 FIP
- Ian Anderson: 71 IP, 4.34 ERA, 4.20 FIP
- Bryce Elder: 46 IP, 4.24 ERA, 4.08 FIP
As you can see, FanGraphs expects Soroka to establish himself as the rotation’s fifth starter, which is a bit surprising. Even though Ian Anderson struggled the entire year, he’s still far more accomplished, especially in the postseason. Regardless of who comes out of that competition, the Braves starting rotation is set to be dominant again.
John Adams/Icon Sportswire
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