5 bold predictions for the Atlanta Braves for the 2024 season

Looking ahead to what should happen in 2024 now that the Braves' have their roster mostly set.
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Hurston Waldrep will be in the Braves' rotation by the end of the season

While acquiring Chris Sale has finally brought some level of stability to the Braves' rotation, the fifth spot in the rotation still seems like it is up for grabs. Bryce Elder is going to get the chance to hold on to the spot as he was an All-Star last year and he wasn't bad enough in the second half when he was gased to just completely abandon ship there.

That said, Elder's stuff requires him to be spot on with his command as he is never going to be overpowering guys out there. Darius Vines and Dylan Dodd are in a similar spot as Elder. Both are very talented guys, but they don't have much room for error when it comes to success in the big leagues. AJ Smith-Shawver certainly has the stuff to be a quality big league starter, but it has always felt like the Braves were moving him very quickly through the minor leagues and giving him some time to refine his craft could be wise.

One name that Braves fans really need to keep an eye on next year for the rotation, however, is Hurston Waldrep whom the Braves picked in the first round last year when he fell in their lap. A legitimate power pitcher, Waldrep's fastball is routinely in the middle to upper 90's, his splitter is already one of the best pitches in the entire Braves organization right now, and his slider is still a legitimate weapon despite lagging behind his fastball and splitter.

The Braves have already been aggressive with Waldrep as a college arm as he blasted his way all the way to Triple-A in his first season of pro ball. We are betting that one of the Braves' starters is going to have to miss a significant length of time or that the Braves will opt to go with a six-man rotation for stretches to give guys like Morton, Fried, and Sale extra days off during the season. Expect Waldrep to be firmly in the mix as an option if those scenarios come to pass and if he gets in the rotation, he probably is going to stick around.