The 2022 Atlanta Braves — The Good

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With the 2022 season in the rearview, it’s time to look back and grade each piece of the Atlanta Braves. For the sake of length, I’ve divided things into three groups – the good, the okay, and the ugly.

The 2022 Atlanta Braves — The Good

Austin Riley

Riley ended the season in a funk, but he was still an MVP candidate for most of the year and nearly became the first player since Chipper Jones to record 40 homers and 40 doubles in a single season. He’s been nominated for the Hank Aaron award and a Silver Slugger. Anything else but an A for his performance this season would be blasphemy.

Grade: A+

Dansby Swanson

In a contract year, Dansby Swanson put up the best numbers of his career. He was arguably the best shortstop in baseball, playing tremendous defense and smacking another 25 homers for the second consecutive season. Hopefully, he re-signs back with Atlanta and is a Brave for the remainder of his career.

Grade: A+

Travis d’Arnaud

There might not be a more underappreciated player than Travis d’Arnaud. He quietly went about his business and put together the best season of his career, earning All-Star honors. He’s also up for a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove.

Grade: A+

William Contreras

Not to be outdone, Contreras broke out this season, hitting 20 homers in just 97 games. He also made it to the All-Star game and looks to be the catcher of the future in Atlanta.

Grade: A+

Michael Harris II

The hype around Harris coming into the season was palpable, and he had yet to even play a game at the AA level. But somehow, he managed to exceed expectations when the Braves called him up. He did things Ronald Acuña didn’t even accomplish as a rookie, and Harris still might not even win the NL Rookie of the Year because the next man on this list was even more impressive.

Grade: A+

Spencer Strider

Strider has already been named the NL Rookie of the Year by Sporting News, and I expect him to receive the award from Major League Baseball as well. He did things we’ve never seen a pitcher do before, and he did them in his first major-league season. This was one of the best rookie campaigns we’ve ever witnessed for a starting pitcher.

Grade: A+

Max Fried

Max Fried was Max Fried again this season, turning in the best 162-game campaign of his career, including his third straight Gold Glove. Until Spencer Strider takes it from him, he’s the leader of this staff going into next season.

Grade: A+

Kyle Wright

I pegged Kyle Wright as my candidate to breakout for the Braves before the season, and I would say I was spot on. He could finish inside the top ten for the NL Cy Young, as he led the league in wins with an ERA just above three. Combine that with his playoff performance against the Phillies, and the Braves might just have another ace on their hands.

Grade: A+

A.J. Minter

Minter had the best season of his career, proving to be one of the most dominant left-handed relievers on the planet.

Grade: A+

Collin McHugh

McHugh had a rocky start, but overall, he came as advertised, proving to be one of the best middle relievers in all of baseball.

Grade: A

Dylan Lee

Lee had some moments we’d all like to forget, but those shouldn’t overshadow just how dominant he was for the majority of the season, posting a 2.13 ERA.

Grade: A

Raisel Iglesias

Iglesias didn’t begin the year on the team, but after the Braves acquired him at the trade deadline, he was arguably the best reliever in baseball. In 28 appearances for Atlanta, he posted an absurd 0.34 ERA. Iglesias will likely be the closer for the team next season.

Grade: A+

Jesse Chavez

I’m not sure if it’s the water in Atlanta or what, but something clicks when Chavez is rocking a tomahawk across his chest. For the Cubs and Angels, he posted a 6.35 ERA and 7.59 ERA, respectively. But in Atlanta, he was damn near elite, recording a 2.72 ERA.

Grade: A- 

Orlando Arcia

Arcia may have been primarily a bench piece, but he was very good when asked to fill in for Ozzie Albies. Defensively, he’s as good as it gets, but his offense was a pleasant surprise this year as well.

Grade: A-

It may feel like I’m being lenient because I handed out so many high grades, but all of them are deserving. That’s why the early exit in the playoffs was so disappointing. This was the most complete team the Atlanta Braves have put together in two decades. Thankfully, nearly their entire core will remain intact for the foreseeable future.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

 

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