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Braves 2023 Season Preview

Trey Plummer takes a deep dive into the offseason of the Atlanta Braves and gives his thoughts on what to expect in the upcoming season.

Baseball season is upon us and that means Braves games are on the horizon. It’s time to review the offseason the team had and preview their 2023 outlook. The upcoming Braves season looks promising. Minus the departure of Dansby Swanson, the Braves kept all of their star players as well as added the quick-triggered catcher Sean Murphy from the A’s.

Last season the Braves posted 243 bombs (2nd in MLB) and 753 runs batted in (4th in MLB). The roster is relatively the same minus Dansby as I stated above. This season they also get back Ozzie Albies and a 100% healthy Ronald Acuña Jr. A much smaller roster subtraction is William Contreras, and as much as I loved Billy C and his fun catcher’s gear, the Braves are most definitely in better shape with Travis d’Arnaud and Sean Murphy calling games behind the plate.

Braves New Era at Shortstop

In 2022 Freddie Freeman left Atlanta, creating a new era at first base, and what they got in return with Matt Olson was everything and more than the Braves could ask for in a replacement. This year they sadly have a similar feeling, with the departure of the Braves eight-year shortstop comes as no surprise to me but is still disappointing. They now are seemingly looking to Rookie Vaughn Grissom to take over the trenches between second and third.

Last year Grissom, playing at second base for the injured Albies, had a spectacular season. Grissom was overshadowed by fellow Braves rookies Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II at times, but he put up great numbers for a rookie who never even saw a triple-A field. The Braves rookie posted a batting average of .290 and a slugging percentage of .440 ranking 29th out of all rookies. Grissom will have a great season for the Braves as he has been working with the infield whisperer Ron Washington.

The Rookies Don’t Look Like Rookies

Michael Harris II had one of the most impressive rookie campaigns I have seen in a long time. He posted a .853 OPS and 19 home runs. Even with numbers like that, it is not his big bat that gave him the 7.5 WAR. It was his phenomenal defensive instincts and natural skill that never ceased to amaze those blessed to watch his greatness.

We now move on to starting pitcher Spencer Strider. He made men look like boys with his four-seamer and signature “Strider Slider” as an ex-Braves pitcher turned broadcaster likes to say. In 131.2 innings, the Clemson product recorded 202 strikeouts, only 54 away from league leader Gerrit Cole, who by the way pitched 70 more innings than Strider. Strider’s numbers were good enough that despite being added to the starting rotation later in the season, he was a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year but ended up finishing second to fellow Braves rookie MH2.

What Should Expectations Be for This Upcoming Season?

This season the NL East should be winnable, and I believe it will be an easier battle than last year where the Braves barely squeaked through. A lot of people get caught up in everything that they have accomplished these past two years and people forget that the Braves have not had a healthy Acuña or Albies for the last two entire seasons. They now have Acuña healthy and all in one piece as well as a fully healed second baseman. Their infield lost a big part but do not forget about Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, and Vaughn Grissom, who wears his hat like the legend Fred “Crime dog” McGriff, so he really can’t fail.

In addition to the great players lining the infield, the Braves have the Sun Tzu of baseball in charge of it. Ron Washington is one of the most respected coaches in MLB and he has earned that respect. Washington is a baseball lifer and World Series winner. He swears by his coaching techniques and patented fielding drills and the proof is in the pudding.

Atlanta needs to win the NL East and 100+ games again and make the NLCS for me to stamp this season a success. They have the talent to get this done and with Brian Snitker at skipper, the sky is the limit for this Braves team. 

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