Predicting the 2023 stats of each Braves player — Sam Hilliard

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This continues my series where I predict the 2023 stats of each Braves player, moving onto someone who could surprise some people this season, Sam Hilliard. If you missed any of the previous editions to this series, follow the links below.

Sam Hilliard 2023 Stat Predictions

Sam Hilliard is an interesting experiment for the Braves. He’s littered with athletic tools. He stands 6-5, 235 pounds, can hit for power, and play fantastic defense because of his speed and arm strength. Hilliard looks like he should be an everyday player, but somehow he hit .184 last year while playing half of his games in Coors Field — undoubtedly the most hitter friendly ballpark in the majors.

FanGraphs did a piece earlier in the offseason outlining why Hilliard might have struggled at the plate to this point, and why he could be due for a breakout with the Braves.

“Hilliard, being a big left-handed hitter capable of hitting the ball at 115 mph, got shifted quite a bit,” says Michael Baumann of FanGraphs. “At the same time, he did what every cranky color commentator wants every left-handed power hitter to do in that situation: Try to go the other way.”

I think it’s far-fetched that Hilliard becomes an everyday player like Baumann suggests, but I do think he’ll end up earning one of the final roster spots. Hilliard will see some starts if he makes the team, and I’m predicting he’ll look a lot better than he did with the Rockies.

Sam Hilliard 2023 Stat Predictions: .227/.308/.420, .728 OPS, 9 home runs, 22 RBIs, 0.9 fWAR

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