The 2022 Braves were a damn good baseball team, winning over 100 games on their way to the NL East title. However, nobody would argue that last year’s team can hold a candle to what the Braves have done in 2023.
This has been a historic year from a multitude of perspectives. Ronald Acuna Jr. was healthy for the first time since 2021, setting the league on fire and becoming the first player to ever hit 40 homers and swipe 70 bags. Matt Olson broke the franchise record for home runs with 54. The Braves became the first team in MLB history to have four players hit 35+ homers. They also tied the 2019 Twins for the most home runs in a single season and became the first team in MLB history to slug over .500 as a group. There may never be an offensive season again in our lifetime like the one the Braves had in 2023, and a primary reason for the jump is some of the incredible improvements from individual players.
Major League Baseball doesn’t have a Most Improved Player award, but if they did, an argument could be made that the Braves would have the top three finishers. Going off fWAR, Ronald Acuna Jr. Marcell Ozuna, and Matt Olson saw the biggest jumps out of every player in the league in their WAR totals from 2022 to 2023.
These are the players that improved their War the most from 2022 to 2023 which is interesting
— Addison (@YankeeWRLD) October 2, 2023
Of course, Acuna wasn’t 100% healthy in 2022, but still, his 6.1 leap in WAR is outrageous. Ozuna’s bounce back campaign has also been nothing short of sensational. He looked like he was heading out of the league after the way he performed in April, but instead, he finished with a career-high 40 homers and 100 RBIs. Meanwhile, all Matt Olson did was set a new career-high in homers by 15.
Throw in the fact that Ozzie Albies missed most of last season and bounced back with a career-high 33 home runs of his own and 4.7 WAR, and it’s not difficult to see why the 2023 Braves offense made the jump from elite to one of the best in the history of the game.
In any given season, an offense is lucky to have one or two players put up career-highs. The Braves had 5-6 of them. I hope fans enjoyed what they saw this year because the odds of everything coming together like this across the board again is one in a million.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire