4. Braves send 8 to the All-Star Game
If there was any doubt as to how good the Atlanta Braves roster was in 2023, it was squashed once the Summer Classic rolled around. The Braves sent a franchise record of 8 players to the MLB All-Star game in Seattle. The entire Atlanta infield was featured in the game with Sean Murphy, Matt Olson, and Orlando Arcia getting the start at their positions.
Eventually, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley checked into the game to replace Luis Arraez and Nolan Arenado. Ronald Acuna Jr. was of course featured in right field as he received the most votes out of anyone in Major League Baseball. He received more votes than international phenom Shohei Ohtani.
Pitching-wise, the Braves sent Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder as well. Neither would pitch in the game but being there was honor enough. Strider was probably one that most fans would have expected but Bryce Elder was a big surprise at the time as he had the best ERA in the NL at one point.
This was one of the proudest moments of the 2023 season and one that likely will be repeated in 2024 as the Braves roster remains mostly unchanged.
3. Matt Olson breaks franchise HR record
I don't know that anyone ever expected Andruw Jones' franchise record of 51 home runs in a season would be broken so soon but Matt Olson did just that in September against the Marlins. Olson had shown his power to Braves fans in 2022 but he unlocked something more in his 2023 campaign. Something clicked with his swing and he seemed to hit a home run every other game.
Number 52 was a game-tying home run in the 6th inning against Miami. Matt went on to add 2 more homers to complete the year with 54 of them. His final home run of the season came at Truist Park and helped him break another franchise record. This home run was a 2-run go-ahead line drive into the Chop House seats. Olson passed Eddie Matthews for the most RBI by a Brave in a single season. Matthews had 135 in a season and Matt's homer gave him 136 RBI and he went on to end the year with 139 of them.
It certainly was a breakout season for Matt Olson and I believe it solidified him as a favorite for a lot of Braves fans after having to fill the void of a franchise first baseman in 2022.