The Braves remained relatively quiet this offseason. They did add a Gold Glove catcher in Sean Murphy, but they also watched an All-Star walk out the door in Dansby Swanson. Because of that, most wonder if this team can be as good as the one that won 101 games last season, or the one that won the World Series the year before that. I think they’ll be even better, and the primary reason for that is the health of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies.
Acuña remained healthy enough to play for most of last season, but he was a shell of himself coming off a torn ACL. He talked about how the injury affected his play several times, but as the injury is left further in the rearview, that should become less and less of an issue. Acuña has looked much better this offseason in workouts and the Venezuelan Winter League, prompting many to believe he’ll return to his MVP form.
Albies’ situation is much different. He suffered two different significant injuries last season, limiting him to just 64 games. The Braves sorely missed his presence. They still had enough depth to win 101 games, but we’re talking about a multi-time All-Star that finished 13th in the NL MVP race in 2021. Albies is one of the most underrated players in the game; just having him back healthy will provide a tremendous boost to an already elite team.
That’s what Orlando Arcia is looking forward to most this season. When asked about his expectations for Acuña and Albies, all he said is he hopes they stay healthy.
#Braves' Orlando Arcia on what he expects/hopes to see from completely healthy Acuña and Albies: “To be honest, all I really want for them is for both of them to stay healthy. And it’s not just me, it’s the entire team. Just so they can both demonstrate what they’re capable of.”
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) February 21, 2023
When it comes to these two, health is the only thing holding them back. They are two of the great talents in the game, which they’ve shown ever since they came into the league. As long as they are 100%, everyone should expect them to be among the best players at their respective positions.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire