The Braves are once again spending more money than ever. After having the highest payroll in franchise history last year, the club will set a new mark in 2023.
Somehow, the team that won the World Series in 2021 will be the worst of the last three squads. Despite not getting out of the division series, the Braves exceeded 100+ wins and were undoubtedly better in 2022 than the one that won it all the previous season. And believe it or not, this year’s team has a chance to be even better than that team. Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller believes it’s the best team in franchise history.
Spoke 1-on-1 with Braves President & CEO Derek Schiller. He said “if you’re a big Braves fan, you probably have a better team this year than you ever had”
He talks about what Braves fans should be most excited about heading into the new season pic.twitter.com/canhHrCx7C
— Reeves Jackson (@ReevesJackson_) March 28, 2023
For several reasons, this can be true.
Beginning in the outfield, the Braves will have an entire season of Michael Harris II, who would’ve been in the MVP discussion last year had he begun the season in Atlanta. Ronald Acuna Jr. is also coming off the worst campaign of his career due to the lingering ACL injury. He should be closer to the pre-injury version of himself, an MVP candidate. Moreover, Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna can’t possibly be as bad in 2023 as they were in 2022; both had encouraging Springs.
To the infield, Matt Olson came to Atlanta after finishing in the top ten of the AL MVP voting but accrued about half the WAR in his first season with the Braves. Expect a bounce back season from the Braves first baseman. Ozzie Albies also missed almost 100 games last year and provides value in every facet of the game — hitting, base running, defense, and leadership.
The rotation also stands to improve from a full year of Spencer Strider and a stable of arms waiting for their chance to contribute at the major league level. Dylan Dodd, Jared Shuster, Mike Soroka, Bryce Elder, and Ian Anderson is an embarrassment of riches for a starting rotation that already has a top four of Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, and Charlie Morton.
Lastly, Sean Murphy is set to be the team’s primary catcher. One of the best defensive backstops in baseball will provide an impact that goes beyond the stat sheet. Calling a game is an underappreciated aspect of playing the position in the majors, and Murphy might do it as well as any in the game.
Photographer: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire
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