Atlanta Braves Pitching
The final two players on the ESPN list are starting pitchers, and it’s no surprise who those pitchers are.
Max Fried - 32
Anyone reading my posts since Max Fried's promotion know I love what he does on the mound. I expect more of the same from Fried this year, he’s a smart pitcher, always seeking to maximize the effectiveness of his pitches.
"Only an epic season by (Sandy) Alcantara (prevented) Fried landing his first NL Cy Young . . . Fried's consistency and dominance . . .allowed him to go 52-20 since 2019, a .722 winning percentage. His 32 games over .500 during that span is matched only by the Yankees' Cole. If he's able to (pitch as he did in 2022) in 2023 (when) he finished second in the Cy Young voting in 2022, where would that leave him? Exactly. "- Doolittle
Doolittle suggests that Fried’s strikeout rate kept him from finishing higher on the list. If so, it’s a shortsighted view of a pitcher’s effectiveness.
Spencer Strider – 50
Speaking of rookies who made their mark on the game, All Spencer Strider did go from someone they hoped would help in the bullpen to one of the game’s most dominant pitchers, set a couple of franchise records, and finish second to his teammate for NL Rookie of the Year.
"Strider's stuff is so overpowering that for now, it's all he needs . . . To become a bedrock starter who can . . . work deep (into games), he'll need more than two pitches. His spring work didn't suggest he has that, so for now, expect more sharp, dominant outings."- Doolittle
I believe Doolittle underestimates Strider's ability to adapt and improve. Strider has ice water in his veins and legs like trees. My wish is that he and Nolan Ryan spend a lot of quality time – like a month or two - talking about pitching. For now, I expect Strider to be Strider and a lot of batters to walk back to the dugout shaking their head.
That’s a Wrap
On Opening Day, 70% of the Atlanta Braves everyday lineup ranks in the top 75 on ESPN’s top-100 list. The average age of that group is 26.3, and all except Fried are under team control through 2027.
Acuña and Olson are destroying baseballs and Eddie Rosario in striking out less and hitting the ball hard, crushing two homers for Puerto Rico in the WBC, and we know what the pitching can do. The season starts in six days; this should be fun!