The Braves wrapped up another season yesterday with a stress free Game 162 that was actually pretty entertaining, given there was nothing on the line. On Tuesday, Atlanta clinched their fifth consecutive NL East title with their 101st win of the season. It’s been a memorable ride that featured a number of tremendous seasons — some from very unexpected places. This is the last piece to my series of Braves awards for the 2022 season, wrapping things up with the team MVP.
If you missed any of the previous parts to this series, follow the links below:
- Best Braves reliever of 2022
- Most underrated Braves player of 2022
- Most disappointing Braves player of 2022
- Braves Cy Young of 2022
Michael Harris II, Austin Riley, Max Fried, Spencer Strider
I couldn’t write this article without giving each of these players their due. Michael Harris II might be the biggest difference maker on the team. When he joined the Braves outfield, everything changed, and I was very close to choosing him for this award.
Austin Riley was actually voted Brave of the Year for the second season in a row by the BBWAA, and I have absolutely no problem with that.
Atlanta chapter of the BBWAA voted Austin Riley as a repeat winner of the Brave of the Year award.
Final vote tally:
>Austin Riley: 7
>Dansby Swanson: 6
>Michael Harris II: 5
FWIW my vote went to Swanson.@DOBrienATL said on a Live Room his went to Harris.
No bad choices.
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) October 4, 2022
For most of the season, Riley was in the MVP conversation, and though he won’t win it this year, I believe there is one in his future.
Max Fried and Spencer Strider also deserve a ton of recognition for their work this season. Fried is quietly having the best full season of his career, and he should deservedly finish in the top-five of the NL Cy Young race. Strider is the frontrunner to win the Rookie of the Year award, and had he not begun the season in the bullpen, I believe he would have had a fantastic chance of winning the NL Cy Young as a rookie. Like Harris, things changed for the Braves when Strider joined the rotation.
Braves MVP — Dansby Swanson
Everyone above has a legitimate claim to this honor, but in my opinion, Swanson was hands down the Braves MVP this season. He’s the leader in the clubhouse, an elite defensive shortstop, and has become a menace for opposing pitchers at the plate. Dansby Swanson finished 12th in all of baseball in fWAR and was the top-ranked Brave. The dude played in every game of the regular season and slugged 25+ bombs for the second year in a row. You just don’t see shortstops that are so elite defensively hit for that kind of power.
Swanson is the definition of a winner, so it’s no shock that he produced the best season of his career in a contract year. There will be no shortage of suitors for his services this winter, and hopefully, the Braves can work out a deal. Losing Freddie Freeman last offseason was one thing, but losing both Freeman and Swanson in back-to-back years may be too much to overcome.
Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire