The Braves have a top 10 player at nearly every position, according to MLB Network. Austin Riley was the third-ranked third baseman, Matt Olson just missed out on top 5 honors, Michael Harris went from prospect to a top 5 center fielder in one year, and Ronald Acuna Jr. slipped but remained in the top 5. Max Fried also just made his first appearance among starting pitchers.
1. Corbin Burnes, MIL (Last year: 9)
2. Justin Verlander, NYM (Not ranked)
3. Carlos Rodon, NYY (NR)
4. Max Scherzer, NYM (3)
5. Sandy Alcantara, MIA (NR)
6. Shohei Ohtani, LAA (NR)
7. Max Fried, ATL (NR)
8. Zack Wheeler, PHI (6)
9. Jacob deGrom, TEX (1)
10. Julio Urias, LAD (NR)
I have a few issues with this list, but you’ll never make everyone happy. Sanday Alcantara just won the NL Cy Young and is way too low. Jacob deGrom battles injuries seemingly every year, but when he’s right, there’s nobody on the planet with nastier stuff. Framber Valdez and Gerrit Cole should probably be over Julio Urias, but I digress. It’s just nice to see Max Fried get some love.
Following a second-place finish in the NL Cy Young race, many consider Fried the best lefty on the planet, finishing the 2022 campaign with a career-best 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, and 5.9 WAR. He’s a bulldog on the mound, and the California native solidified his place among the best in baseball last year.
Fried is the staff’s ace and will toe the rubber in any Game 1 situation. Despite a less-than-ideal finish to the season, there’s nobody I’d rather have out there. And there was a good reason for his poor performance in the NLDS against the Phillies.
Fried surrendered four earned runs in just 3.1 innings as Philadelphia opened up the series with a critical Game 1 victory on the road. However, he was battling the flu for weeks. Going into the series, it was unclear how severe the illness was, but according to Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz, Fried never got healthy and entered his Game 1 start against the Phillies down 15 pounds. Nobody could’ve executed under those conditions.
Thankfully, Fried will have two more seasons of chances to bring Atlanta another World Series trophy.
You must log in to post a comment.