The Braves were well represented on the MLB Network’s Top 10 position rankings, with the second-most players selected (7) behind the Mets and Astros (8).
*Saw this for another team* The Braves placed 7 on MLB Network's "Top 10 Players Right Now"
Murphy: No. 4 C
d'Arnaud: No. 7 C
Fried: No. 7 SP
Riley: No. 3 3B
Olson: No. 6 1B
Harris: No. 5 CF
Acuna: No. 5 RF https://t.co/hWJ7yRk1J0
— SportsTalkATL Alex (@GeauxSportsTalk) February 3, 2023
I’ve covered every single of these rankings individually, so be sure to check those out:
Austin Riley, 3rd ranked 3B
Matt Olson, 6th ranked 1B
Michael Harris, 5th ranked CF
Ronald Acuna Jr., 5th ranked CF
Max Fried, 7th ranked SP
Sean Murphy, 4th ranked C
Travis d’Arnaud, 7th ranked C
The Braves also had a few players that very likely could’ve made a list or potentially make it in 2023.
Rasiel Iglesias posted a 4.04 ERA in 35.2 innings with the Angels 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. That’s going to be difficult to replicate, but if he can come close, he’ll be in the conversation for one of the best closers in baseball next year.
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. He’s quickly established himself as one of the best relievers in the MLB, and it’s time he garners more national recognition.
Ozzie Albies might be the biggest name from the Braves missing. He was ranked as the 57th-best player in all of baseball last season by this same outlet because he’s averaged nearly 4.0 fWAR every single season since becoming a full-time starter in 2018 outside of last season. Albies is one of two second basemen in history with at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 100 runs, and 20 stolen bases in a single season.
Albies has slashed .272/.322/.479 with an .801 OPS while averaging 21 home runs and 71 RBIs per season from 2018-21, all while providing plus defense and base running — that’s a top 10 player at his position. Even still, he probably didn’t deserve to be on this year’s list.
Albies only appeared in 64 games in 2022. He hardly played, and when he did, it wasn’t the usual Ozzie Albies. In those 64 games played, he posted a .703 OPS and 93 WRC+ — both very poor numbers by his standards. I’m expecting a huge year from the Braves’ fun loving second baseman.
There’s also the case for Spencer Strider to appear on this year’s starting pitchers ranking. He didn’t spend enough of the season in the rotation, but what he accomplished in such a short period was unbelievable. If he can stay healthy the entire year, Strider could very well challenge for the NL Cy Young award.
The Braves could legitimately have a top 10 player at every single position other than shortstop, left field, and DH. Even then, if Marcell Ozuna remembers how to hit, he could be one of the better designated hitters in the league. It’s a loaded roster, top to bottom.
Photographer: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire
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