Atlanta Braves: 2024 Season Preview

What happened in 2023?

The 2023 Braves had a monster regular season as they went 104-58, taking the NL East by 14 games over the 90-72 Phillies. They never even came close to falling under .500 for the season, and led the division from game four through to game 162.

On an individual basis, Braves players also excelled. First and foremost, the unmissable Ronald Acuña Jr. had the most impressive 40/40 season in history, swatting 41 home runs and stealing an unreasonable 73 bases on his way to his first National League MVP award. Matt Olson also put everything together in 2023, as he broke the Braves’ single-season home run and RBI records with 53 taters and 139 RBI – and finally, Spencer Strider took another major step forward in his career, leading the MLB in strikeouts (by almost 50!), wins and FIP in his age-24 season. 

Unfortunately, playoff baseball is a different affair, and the Braves sputtered, losing the divisional series to the Phillies in four games. The Braves had no excuse – they weren’t dealing with major injuries, as they were the year before, so losing for the second straight year to a strictly inferior Phillies outfit is unacceptable. 

Notable comings and goings

IN:

Chris Sale, Jarred Kelenic, Aaron Bummer, Reynaldo Lopez, Adam Duvall

RETURNING FROM LONG-TERM INJURY:

Tyler Matzek, Huascar Ynoa

OUT:

Vaughn Grissom, Kyle Wright, Michael Soroka, Eddie Rosario, Kevin Pillar, Brad Hand, Ron Washington and Eric Young Sr. (3B and 1B coach)

Areas of weakness requiring attention

As I feel like I’ve been saying for the past two years, left field could again be an issue for the Braves. Last year’s mix of Eddie Rosario (122 games), Kevin Pillar (34 games) and friends will be almost entirely replaced this year. New Brave Jarred Kelenic was considered for a full-time role there at the start of spring, but the one year, $3 million contract handed out to Adam Duvall has switched the focus to a platoon. Kelenic had a rough start to spring training, but after a few mechanical tweaks from Braves coach and apparent hitting wizard Kevin Seitzer, he’s beginning to look more comfortable in his swing.

One to watch

Which Chris Sale will the Braves get? After a hot start to Spring Training, Braves fans have already been supplied with the ‘best shape of his life’ rhetoric. With the top of the rotation already sewn up with Spencer Strider and Max Fried, Sale won’t have the pressure of being an ace, allowing him to fully focus on regaining his form. After using 16 different starters last year the Braves are looking for more consistency in the rotation – and a healthy and productive Sale will be a key part of that. The Braves must have been delighed with what they’ve seen so far – he notched six more strikeouts in his final Spring Training start to push his total to 17, with only four walks and an ERA of 3.86.

I’d also like to note speedster Forrest Wall‘s excellent preseason numbers. He’s hitting over .300 against mainly big-league pitching in the Grapefruit League this year, with three homers and three stolen bases. After stealing 57 bases across the minors and big leagues last year, he’s almost a lock to make the bench for his pinch-running ability alone – but if he can keep up his white-hot form with the bat then he might push Kelenic and Duvall for playing time out of the gate. 

2024 prediction

The Braves should have no problem getting into the playoffs this year. They should once again repeat as champions of the NL East, as they have been every year since 2018 – so the measure of Braves success for the season will come down purely to the playoffs after two disappointing years in a row. My detailed (and hopeful) prediction for the year is as follows: 

Regular season: 107-55, 1st place in NL East
NL Divisional Series: Braves over Reds, 3-2
NL Championship Series: Braves over Dodgers, 4-1
World Series: Braves over Orioles, 4-0

Featured image: Charlie Niebergall, AP Photo

Charlie Deeks is the Atlanta Braves correspondent on Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @Omashaft!

One comment

  1. Thanks for the outlook Charlie, great work!

    I think 107 RS wins is a possibility but I also think that is the top end of an aspirational goal. I agree we take the NL East again and move through the playoffs to win the World Series.

    The aspect of this Braves team that impresses me the most is that the entire roster and staff are in lockstep with what needs to happen to win the World Series again – and believe you me, every one of the Braves says not winning the World Series is a disappointing season. They say that with a quiet confidence of a team that is looking forward to this year, and not one that is vague and unsure, only aspiring to have a ‘better result than last season’.

    What I’m excited about the most this year, and every year until at least 2028, is our Braves battling it out against the Dodgers in the Post Season for the right to claim the decade’s best team with the most championships.

    It’s gonna be EPIC dawg! None of that 80s NL West bottom of the standings Braves be but possibly the Braves roster that Will be compared to the early/mid 90s squads.

    For the A!

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