The Braves’ core is one of the best in the league and looks to be competing for the World Series in 2021. They led the team to the NL East title and eventually to play in the NLCS. Both their pitchers and position players are some of the most talented in the league and will likely allow the team to win the division once again next season. Although, some of these stars has a major question mark that goes along with them and could affect the Braves’ success.
How will Mike Soroka recover from his injury?
In 2019, Soroka was an All-Star and looked poised to repeat this performance for the rest of his career. However, in one of his first starts in 2020, he tore his Achilles tendon. Soroka has a career ERA of 2.86 and will hopefully be at the level in 2021. His performance will likely depend on how he recovers from his injury. Athletes with the injury he suffered typically take a year to come back to their former stature. He could range anywhere between a below-average starter to an ace depending on his recovery. It is projected that he will be available for Opening Day, but nothing has been confirmed.
Will Marcell Ozuna be a defensive liability?
Ozuna had a breakout year during the 60 game sprint in 2020. He had an NL leading 18 home runs and 56 RBIs while hitting .338. The Braves recently gave him a 4 year 64 million dollar contract during free agency, mainly for his bat. Ozuna put up those numbers last season as a DH, but that won’t be the case next season. With no universal DH, he will be forced to be the everyday left fielder. His defense is one of the worst in the league and will definitely hurt the Braves. Hopefully, playing next to Cristian Pache, who is supposed to be one of the best defensive prospects in the league, will help make Ozuna’s defense. His flaws could potentially be covered by Pache, but nobody will know until the season begins.
Can Max Fried repeat his 2020 season?
By going 7-0, Fried went undefeated and had a 2.25 ERA to lead Atlanta to the playoffs. He stepped up once Soroka went out and became the ace last season. This was a huge improvement from 2019 when he had a 4.02 ERA and missed out on being in Atlanta’s starting playoff rotation. Fans are still looking to know whether Fried is going to be like the 2019 or 2020 version of himself for the rest of his career. He performed well in a 60 game season, but it is yet to be seen if he can do it through a full 162 games.
Can Ronald Acuna Jr stay healthy?
Acuna is one of the brightest young stars in the league today. Since he came into the league in 2018, he has proved that he will be successful every single year. Across these three seasons, he has hit .281 and a .909 OPS with 61 steals. The one question about him has not been about his performance on the field, but rather his health. Every single year he was in the league, he has had an injury that has kept him out for a few games. He has yet to play a full season in the MLB, but hopefully, that is different this season. In an improved NL East, the Braves may need Acuna to play all 162 games to win the division.
“From Our Haus to Yours“