Atlanta Braves 2024 season preview: Sean Murphy hopes to recapture last year's magic

The Atlanta Braves will look for big things out of Sean Murphy this upcoming season.

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Much like the Atlanta Braves have done in recent years, the catching position was a platoon in 2023. Those duties were shared between Sean Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud. d’Arnaud appeared in 74 games while Murphy appeared in 108. 

You couldn't ask for a better debut with a new team than Murphy had after being acquired from the Oakland Athletics before the season began.

2024 will likely be similar with Murphy expected to get the bulk of playing time behind the dish. Last season, Murphy earned his first All-Star Game appearance by posting a .251 batting average with 21 home runs and 68 RBI over his 108 games. He looked like an MVP candidate in the first half of the season but regressed a bit during the second half.

According to ZiPS FanGraphs projections, Sean Murphy is expected to bat .254 with 22 home runs and 72 RBI. These projections are very similar to his actual stat line in 2023. 

While this is a realistic expectation of Murphy, it is not far-fetched for him to exceed these projections. As mentioned above, 2023 was Murphy’s first season with the Braves after spending his first four MLB seasons with the Oakland A's.

Murphy made the transition to the East Coast nicely but it is possible that it took some time for Atlanta to feel like home. Now that he has grown accustomed to the Braves organization and expectations, he will be ready to go next season.

Another reason that Sean Murphy could potentially shatter his projections is simply because of the lineup he is in. Murphy will get pitches to hit as he will be in the middle or bottom third of the order with really good hitters in front of and behind him. The Braves have tough hitters 1-9 so no matter where he is in the lineup, Murphy will have some protection behind him. 

It is possible that Murphy’s batting average falls below his projection, maybe even to the .230-.240 range but he has shown that he has the potential to pop 30 homers in a season, especially if he appears in more games than he did a year ago. 

The biggest value Murphy brings is his defense as his arm is very strong. He will make baserunners think twice before taking off on him. That's something Atlanta has desperately needed to change before he was acquired.

Overall, it will be a great year for Murph as he continues his quest to be one of MLB's best catchers.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built