Atlanta Braves 2023 season review: Bryce Elder, a tale of two halves

Let’s take a look back on Bryce Elder’s 2023 season for the Atlanta Braves. 
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Three
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Three / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

One of the top priorities for the Atlanta Braves this off season is to improve the starting rotation. Bryce Elder took over a spot in the rotation early in the year following Max Fried and Kyle Wright injuries and he never gave it up. 

In fact, for the first half of the season, Elder appeared to be one of the best starters in all of the MLB. He led the league in ERA for an extended period of time and was selected as a first time All-Star. 

During the first half of the season, Elder tossed 106 innings. He posted an impressive 2.97 ERA and only issued 34 free passes. Unfortunately, the second half of the season was the exact opposite. 

After the mid-summer classic, Elder only recorded 68.2 innings and had an ERA of 5.11. He also walked 28 batters over this stretch, only six less than he did in the first part of the season where he saw almost 40 more innings of work. 

This all tallied up to a 12-4 record with a 3.81 ERA by season’s end. In 174.2 innings pitched, Elder punched out 128 and walked 63. 

While Elder was an All-Star and showed flashes of his potential (mainly through the first half of 2023), many believe that what he showed in the second half of the season is who he really is. That is why Braves fans are expecting the front office to add quality starting pitching to avoid another Bryce Elder playoff start.

If Atlanta is able to sign a significant free agent such as Aaron Nola or Sonny Gray, it could be possible that Elder is the fifth starter. A rotation of: Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, Aaron Nola/Sonny Gray and Bryce Elder should be plenty good enough to make some noise in October of 2024.