Atlanta Braves: Which Braves position player will finish with the highest WAR in 2023?

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 05: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 5, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 05: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 5, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves are set to have a loaded lineup going into the 2023. There are around half a dozen guys in the field that could end up being All-Stars next season including several guys who could end up winning the National League MVP.  That is a good place to be.

The question, then, is which Braves position player will end up having the MOST value. For our purposes, I asked this question to the team here in terms of WAR just so there is a subjective baseline for everyone. Sure, there are plenty of arguments for guys’ value in the clubhouse, energy on the field, game management, etc….but that isn’t want this article is about. Below are our staff’s answers. Enjoy!

Which Atlanta Braves position player will have the highest WAR in 2023?

Eric: The Braves do not have a shortage of candidates for this as the roster is littered with All-Stars and MVP candidates. This isn’t quite as safe a guess as it normally is because of his injury recovery, but I will go with Ronald Acuna Jr. His upside is just off the charts and if he is back to his usual self, he could post a 40/40 season in 2023 and it wouldn’t feel like a fluke.

Sam: Steamer Projects Ronald Acuña, to lead the team in WAR by over a full 1.0, with Austin Riley in second. I do believe that Acuña will lead, just simply because WAR is an all around performance, and Acuña’s overall game is easily the best. Riley rates poorly on defense, and Matt Olson will get dinged for playing 1b. The key will be if Acuña can stay healthy.

Fred: Easy answer; Acuña Jr. His talent, youth, and energy coupled with his desire to be THE man.

Chase: I badly wanted to say Michael Harris here. I think he’s such a complete player and I love his defense. But I’m going to stick with Ronald Acuña Jr. I think it’s better for the Braves when Ronald is not only their best player, but making a case that’s he’s a top five player in all of baseball. I think he gets back to that next season.

Mitchell: I don’t think he’ll lead the team by much (though this is more a compliment to the rest of the team), but I do think Acuña will have the edge in WAR. I think Harris’s defense and Riley’s offense will put them right behind Ronnie, but I do think we’ll see a bounce back 6+ WAR season from Acuña to take the crown.

Trent: A perk of being a Braves fan is that there are three or four guys that could easily be the answer here. I will go with Ronald Acuña Jr though. When healthy, he is a top five player in baseball. I also think he wants to prove that last year was not who he really was. All the videos coming out makes it look like he is the healthiest he has been in years and he is having fun again. I would not be surprised if he was in MVP conversations at the end of the year.

Davis: The only thing standing between Ronald Acuña Jr. and being in the MVP conversation in 2021 was health. His torn ACL really seemed to set him back both physically and mentally for the duration of 2022, limiting his output to a career-worst 2.2 fWAR and 114 wRC+. We know the talent is there, the only question that remains is – will the knee strength be? If a fully healthy and active offseason works in the way that most around the Braves organization think it will, then Ronald should comfortably lead the team in WAR in 2023.

Colin: I believe that Ronald Acuña Jr will easily lead the team well over a 1.0 WAR. With him coming off of that terrible ACL tear back in the 2021 season, he noticeably lost a little production back in 2022, but Acuña Jr is only going to get better and return to form from here on out. With that in mind, I also wouldn’t be surprised if Austin Riley gives him a run for his money, along with Michael Harris II, who is coming off of his stellar NL Rookie of the Year performance in 2022.

Matt: Ronald Acuna Jr.. Assuming that Acuna is back to full health, the star outfielder should do it all for the Braves in 2023 offensively, and could be in store for an MVP caliber season similar to his 2019 campaign, one in which he finished fifth in voting.