The Braves sent a number of players to the 2022 All-Star game, some for the first time in their careers. Despite a down year, Ronald Acuna Jr. was voted in as a starter for the National League. Dansby Swanson and William Contreras had the best years of their respective careers, earning All-Star honors for the first time. Austin Riley, Max Fried, and Travis d’Arnaud were also given nods. This is a regular occurrence when you’re one of the most talented baseball teams. However, David Schoenfield of ESPN doesn’t have the club sending as many to the 2023 All-Star game.
David Schoenfield: Way-way-too-early 2023 MLB All-Stars: Predicting full rosters for both the AL and NL https://t.co/0N9wYquW9c
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 11, 2023
The only starter on the National League roster prediction was Michael Harris II, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. He was the Braves’ best player in 2022, and even if his offense slumps, Harris’ value in other facets of the game still makes him a productive player. Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna Jr. were named potential backups, which is also not surprising. They’ll be perennial MVP candidates for the rest of their primes.
Sean Murphy and Matt Olson were mentioned as first-ones-out at their respective positions. Murphy will be up against some of the best in the business — J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, and the Contreras brothers. Olson’s path might even be more difficult than his teammate’s. Freddie Freeman hasn’t lost a step, Paul Goldschmidt won the NL MVP last year, and Pete Alonso is no slouch. I believe Murphy’s path to an All-Star bid is much more plausible than Olson’s.
A couple of players were egregiously not mentioned — Max Fried and Spencer Strider. Fried finished second in the NL Cy Young race last year, boasting a career-best 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, and 5.9 WAR. And he’s not even the more talented pitcher of the two.
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.
Expect both of those players to make some noise in the 2023 NL Cy Young race and the All-Star voting.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire