2024 Atlanta Braves, Fans Demand Postseason Glory Amidst Mounting Pressure

2024 Atlanta Braves, Fans Demand Postseason Glory Amidst Mounting Pressure
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After back-to-back divisional losses to the Philadelphia Phillies, the 2024 Atlanta Braves and their fanbase feel an urgent need to get over the club’s postseason failures. The Braves have made the postseason every year since 2018, accumulating six straight National League East division titles and one World Series Championship in 2021. Some may consider their World Series run due to their hot hitting and finding their stride at the right time, but now the Braves faithful want to see this “superteam” claim the top honors.

The Braves were arguably the best team in all of baseball last season with 104 wins and the 2023 NL MVP in outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr, who became the founding member of the 40-70 Club with 41 homers and 73 stolen bases. Still, the Phillies were able to defeat the Braves in October, knocking the World Series favorites out of the playoffs in the 2023 NL Division Series for the second straight season. Although having many great players, the Braves hitting changed with the weather and cooled off in October.

Entering the 2023 season, the Braves looked to avenge their 2023 divisional loss. From top to bottom, the lineup was filled with illustrious hitting, and the pitching held its own pre-All-Star break. After the All-Star break, the Braves slowed down a touch but still had the best record in baseball. With the 2024 Atlanta Braves locker room having a World Series or bust mentality, the Braves fans hope their prosperous thoughts will ultimately come to fruition. The 2024 Atlanta Braves have the talent to claim the best record in baseball but will face stiff competition from their rivals such as the New York Mets and their recent kryptonite, the Phillies.

Injured Players

Coming off of Injury and not yet ready to go for the 2024 Atlanta Braves are all pitchers. Two RHPs in Ian Anderson and Huascar Ynoa are coming off Tommy John surgery. Anderson underwent surgery in April 2023 and looks to return in June or July, as he is still going through the recovery and rehab process. For Ynoa, he pitched one inning this Spring, allowing one hit and striking out one. He eyes an April return.

For the LHPs, Tyler Matzek and Dylan Lee attempt to return and offer help to the bullpen upon their return. Matzek underwent Tommy John surgery before last season and looks to be ready for Opening Day. His fastball velocity is down to 91-94 MPH, lower than his 2021 season average fastball velocity of 96 MPH, but the lefty looks to return soon nonetheless. Lee battled shoulder discomfort all of 2023. Now that he’s had the winter to rest and the spring to warm up, Lee looks to make the Opening Day roster.

2022 Stats (Injured Players)

The 2024 Atlanta Braves look for support from Anderson, Ynoa, and Matzek– all three of whom did not play in 2023. Here are their stats from 2022, when they last played in the majors. All stats are provided by Baseball Reference.

ATL 2022 (Injured Players)
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
5 SP Ian Anderson 24 10 6 5.00 22 22 0 0 111.2 115 62 12 54 97 82 4.25 1.513
7 RP Tyler Matzek 31 4 2 3.50 42 0 0 1 43.2 26 17 3 29 36 118 4.49 1.260
23 P Huascar Ynoa 24 0 2 13.50 2 2 0 0 6.2 11 10 2 6 8 32 7.31 2.550

2023 Stats (Injured Players)

As mentioned earlier, Lee pitched through discomfort in 2023 but still gave it a go in the bullpen.

ATL 2023 (Injured Players)
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
20 P Dylan Lee 28 1 0 4.18 24 1 0 0 23.2 24 11 4 8 24 107 4.44 1.352

2024 Atlanta Braves Catchers

The catching duo for the 2024 Atlanta Braves will go unchanged barring any circumstances. Second-year Brave Sean Murphy earned his first All-Star appearance last year, and veteran Travis D’Arnaud will back him up and may make appearances for some specific matchups. 2024 will be D’Arnaud’s fifth season for the Atlanta Braves.

ATL Catchers 2023
Rk Pos Name Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
1 C Sean Murphy 28 108 370 65 93 21 0 21 68 0 49 98 .251 .365 .478 .844 125 177
10 C Travis d’Arnaud 34 74 267 31 60 13 0 11 39 0 21 67 .225 .288 .397 .685 82 106

2024 Atlanta Braves Infielders

Like most of the Braves lineup, the starting infield will remain unchanged. Matt Olson will anchor the first base position to start the 2024 season after leading the majors in home runs. At second base will be Ozzie Albies, who looks to continue his slugging and great offensive 2023 season where he posted career highs in numerous batting statistical categories. At shortstop, the Braves will stay with Orlando Arcia. Arcia emerged as an All-Star last season, surprising many fans and pundits alike after becoming the replacement for Dansby Swanson. At third will be Austin Riley, whose Atlanta Braves tenure extends to his sixth season in 2024. Riley began 2023 relatively slowly, but exploded in the latter half of the season, tying his career high in hits.

The only surprise addition to the Braves infield is shortstop Luis Guillorme. After Atlanta shipped Vaughn Grissom in a trade for Chris Sale, the Braves lost themselves MLB-ready depth at shortstop but received a hurler who struck out 308 batters in 2017 only to have a string of injury-riddled seasons since. In comes Guillorme, who plugged his last six years for the rival Mets. Atlanta signed Guillorme to a one-year deal worth up to 1.1 million dollars. Guillorme played well in 2022, posting above a .270 batting average but struggled to continue his success in 2023.

2024 Atlanta Braves Infield Stats From 2023

ATL Infielders 2023
Rk Pos Name Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2 1B Matt Olson 29 162 608 127 172 27 3 54 139 1 104 167 .283 .389 .604 .993 162 367
3 2B Ozzie Albies 26 148 596 96 167 30 5 33 109 13 46 107 .280 .336 .513 .849 124 306
4 SS Orlando Arcia 28 139 488 66 129 25 0 17 65 1 39 102 .264 .321 .420 .741 98 205
5 3B Austin Riley 26 159 636 117 179 32 3 37 97 3 59 172 .281 .345 .516 .861 128 328
Luis Guillorme 2023 (NYM)
Rk Pos Name Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
15 2B Luis Guillorme* 28 54 107 12 24 6 1 1 9 0 10 28 .224 .288 .327 .615 70 35

2024 Atlanta Braves Outfielders/Designated Hitter

For the returning Braves, center field will be held by Michael Harris II, who began last year cold but found his footing in June. The Georgia native is slated to be a breakout player according to fans and analysts for the 2024 season. In right field, you have the 2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. The 26-year-old looks to keep his success going to help lift the Braves to new heights from April to October.

Off the bench will be Forrest Wall, who appeared in 15 Braves games last year as a pinch hitter. Wall has earned his spot on the 40-man roster for the 2024 season. At DH will be Marcell Ozuna, who struggled at the start of 2023, but caught fire after a tight series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ozuna started with a .070 average but neared the .275 mark toward the end of the season to combine with 40 home runs.

The outfield is shifting slightly for the Braves in 2024. Left-handed hitter Eddie Rosario signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, Atlanta’s NL East divisional opponents. For the plug-in, the Braves traded for Seattle Mariners outfielder Jared Kelenic. Kelenic had a season to remember last year, which was going well until he kicked a water cooler and fractured his foot, forcing him out of action for the majority of the 2023 season. The Braves have brought back Adam Duvall to platoon with Kelenic. Duvall broke out early in 2023 before an injury slowed him down for the rest of the season. Finally, the Braves acquired J.P. Martinez in a trade this winter from the Texas Rangers. Martinez looks to have an improved role as a backup center fielder.

2024 Atlanta Braves Outfield Stats From 2023

ATL Outfielders/DH 2023
Rk Pos Name Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
7 CF Michael Harris II* 22 138 505 76 148 33 3 18 57 20 25 101 .293 .331 .477 .808 114 241
8 RF Ronald Acuna Jr. 25 159 643 149 217 35 4 41 106 73 80 84 .337 .416 .596 1.012 168 383
9 DH Marcell Ozuna 32 144 530 84 145 29 1 40 100 0 57 134 .274 .346 .558 .905 138 296
17 OF Forrest Wall* 27 15 13 6 6 2 0 1 2 5 2 4 .462 .533 .846 1.379 264 11
Adam Duvall 2023 (BOS)
Rk Pos Name Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
10 OF Adam Duvall 34 92 320 45 79 24 2 21 58 4 22 110 .247 .303 .531 .834 119 170
Jarred Kelenic 2023 (SEA)
Rk Pos Name Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
6 LF Jarred Kelenic* 23 105 372 44 94 25 2 11 49 13 41 132 .253 .327 .419 .746 109 156

2024 Atlanta Braves Rotation

The top-heavy Braves rotation will be headlined by young flamethrower Spencer Strider. Strider is coming off an impressive season, leading the majors in strikeouts last year and finishing fourth in NL Cy Young voting. Most likely the second part of the rotation will be 30-year-old Max Fried. Fried, who is in the final year of his contract, impressed in his short time playing in 2023. Fried underwent multiple injuries last season, but was still his potential ace caliber. The fifth spot could be filled by youngsters such as AJ Smith-Shawver or Bryce Elder. Elder was an All-Star last year, and Smith-Shawver started multiple games last season. However, both players will start in Triple-A for the Gwinnett Stripers.

Chris Sale is likely the top acquisition this offseason for the Braves. Sale, who’s battled injuries since 2019, can be a formidable pitcher when healthy. Sale has been known to be one of the top pitchers in baseball when fully healthy. All the question marks for Sale arise about his health, and he has the chance to stifle the doubters this season. For the fifth spot, new signee Reynaldo López will take over for the start of the season. López came out of the bullpen last season, but Atlanta will use the former starter in his former role.

2024 Atlanta Braves Starting Rotation Stats From 2023

ATL Rotation 2023
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H ER HR BB IBB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
1 SP Spencer Strider 24 20 5 3.86 32 32 0 0 186.2 146 80 22 58 1 281 115 2.85 1.093
2 SP Bryce Elder 24 12 4 3.81 31 31 0 0 174.2 160 74 19 63 0 128 116 4.42 1.277
3 SP Charlie Morton 39 14 12 3.64 30 30 0 0 163.1 150 66 14 83 2 183 122 3.87 1.427
4 SP Max Fried* 29 8 1 2.55 14 14 1 0 77.2 70 22 7 18 0 80 174 3.14 1.133
18 SP AJ Smith-Shawver 20 1 0 4.26 6 5 0 0 25.1 17 12 7 11 0 20 105 6.69 1.105
Chris Sale 2023 (BOS)
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
4 SP Chris Sale* 34 6 5 4.30 20 20 0 0 102.2 87 49 15 29 125 106 3.80 1.130
Reynaldo López 2023 (CLE)
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
24 RP Reynaldo López 29 1 0 0.00 12 0 0 0 11.0 5 0 0 4 12 2.16 0.818

2024 Atlanta Braves Relief Corps

The relief corps for the Braves went through some ups and downs in 2023. The bullpen finished 12th in team ERA in 2023, but the Braves made some changes for 2024. The Braves finished fifth in WHIP, but the home run ball killed them. They gave up 75 home runs which finished middle of the pack in the majors. The Braves bullpen closed with Raisel Iglesias, who delivered 33 saves across the season. Also out of the bullpen were Michael Tonkin, Kirby Yates, Collin McHugh, and Nick Anderson for 2023, however, 2024 will have a much different look. With McHugh’s retirement and Tonkin, Yates, and Anderson finding different ballclubs, the Braves have brought in many different names for the relief corps.

Returning Braves Relievers

Returning Braves such as Pierce Johnson, Darius Vines, Daysbel Hernandez, and Jackson Stephens all have 40-man roster spots for the 2024 season. Raisel Iglesias will still close the door for the Atlanta Braves in 2024. Each RHP in the bullpen on the 40-man roster will be a returning Braves player. For the LHPs, it is more complicated. The Braves not only have their A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek duo back as well as Dylan Lee recovering from his shoulder, but also two new names for the bullpen: Aaron Bummer and Ray Kerr. Bummer was acquired this offseason from the Chicago White Sox. He posted a nearly seven ERA, but the front office looks to return Bummer to his 2022 form when he posted a 2.36 ERA. For Kerr, he pitched two seasons for the San Diego Padres. Kerr upped his SO/9 and BB/9, in 27 innings last season.

Finally, the Braves signed Jesse Chavez to a minor league deal, and his previous output for Atlanta shows that we will most likely see the 40-year-old pitch in the majors this season.

2024 Atlanta Braves Returning Reliever Stats From 2023

ATL Relief Corps 2023
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
6 CL Raisel Iglesias 33 5 4 2.75 58 0 50 33 55.2 51 17 7 15 68 162 3.26 1.186
8 RP A.J. Minter* 29 3 6 3.76 70 0 19 10 64.2 56 27 6 21 82 118 2.90 1.191
10 RP Joe Jiménez 28 0 3 3.04 59 0 16 0 56.1 51 19 9 14 73 147 3.59 1.154
13 RP Jesse Chavez 39 1 0 1.56 36 1 7 1 34.2 26 6 2 12 39 287 3.05 1.096
19 RP Pierce Johnson 32 1 1 0.76 24 0 2 0 23.2 16 2 3 5 32 591 2.83 0.887
20 RP Dylan Lee* 28 1 0 4.18 24 1 2 0 23.2 24 11 4 8 24 107 4.44 1.352
22 RP Darius Vines 25 1 0 3.98 5 2 0 0 20.1 15 9 3 7 14 113 4.98 1.082
27 RP Jackson Stephens 29 0 0 3.00 5 0 2 0 12.0 13 4 1 5 11 152 3.76 1.500
30 RP Daysbel Hernández 26 1 0 7.36 4 0 2 0 3.2 6 3 1 3 6 66 5.98 2.455

2024 Atlanta Braves New Reliever Stats From 2023

Aaron Bummer 2023 (CWS)
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
9 RP Aaron Bummer* 29 5 5 6.79 61 0 8 0 58.1 53 44 4 36 78 66 3.58 1.526
Ray Kerr 2023 (SDP)
Rk Pos Name Age W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H ER HR BB SO ERA+ FIP WHIP
19 RP Ray Kerr* 28 1 1 4.33 22 0 12 0 27.0 25 13 5 9 35 95 4.18 1.259

2024 Atlanta Braves Outlook

For the Atlanta Braves, the mentality was stated by Opening Day starter Spencer Strider: “It’s World Series or Bust.” Soon enough, fans will know if 2023’s hitting prowess will roll over into 2024 and if the starting pitching can find a strong 1-2 punch. Will the bullpen with new lefty arms be able to finish in the top 15? In a division with the Mets and Phillies, the rivalries and fireworks will be plentiful, and opening in Philadelphia will cause the Braves to attempt to kick off the ‘vengeance’ tour early. The Braves look to continue its regular season success, looking to win its seventh straight NL East title and third straight 100-win season.

However, the Braves can’t live on its regular season successes. With stars across the board and expectations from everyone in the organization – and its fanbase – the play in October needs to improve. “The Team of the ’90s” is how some still think of the Braves, but they are looking to change the narrative, raise the commissioner’s trophy once again in 2024, and become “The Team of the ’20s”. The Braves seem to be a shoo-in for the playoffs; of course, the games from late March to September matter, but everyone knows that the play in October will determine the morale, story, and reaction from everyone in the organization inside and out as well as its fanbase who demand victory.

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Brooks Thomason

As a up and coming writer, Brooks has been born and raised as an Atlanta Braves fan. Going through the years of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Brian McCann as a kid, to Freddie Freeman, and Acuña, Brooks has seen Braves stars come and go. However, his fandom always remains with Braves Country.

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