Atlanta Braves: Milestone Watch for the 2023 season

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The 2022 MLB season was highlighted by "the chase." Aaron Judge made a successful run for the American League single-season home run record, Albert Pujols ended his career by breaching the 700 home run mark, and Miguel Cabrera joined the 3,000-hit club in front of his home fans in Detroit.

None of the 2023 Atlanta Braves are currently chasing any numbers as lofty as that, but there's several players who have opportunities to hit some pretty notable career milestones in the coming season.

Matt Olson, Marcell Ozuna - 200 Home Runs

The two active home run leaders for Atlanta, Matt Olson and Marcell Ozuna have packed a lot of pop in their short stints with the team so far. Ozuna led the league with 18 home runs in the shortened 2020 season, then hit 23 in 2022 upon his return from suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy. He's at 196 career home runs, so should hit the 200 mark easily within the first month or so assuming he is playing regularly.

Olson has a bit of a steeper hill to climb, sitting at 176 coming into this year. He's averaged 31 home runs over the last four season, and should have a strong chance at coming close to that number again over a full season. He should easily clear the 500 career RBI plateau early in the year too.

Ronald Acuña Jr. - 150 Home Runs

Take away the shortened 2020 season and a torn ACL in 2021, Ronald Acuña Jr. could very well be with Olson and Ozuna near the 200 mark.

Still, in five short seasons, Ronald has rocketed up the leaderboards at just 25 years old. sitting at 120 career home runs. He hasn't played a "full" season since his 41-homer effort in 2019, but if Acuña stays healthy, a 30 HR season to reach 150 in his career is on the table.

Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Travis d'Arnaud - 100 Home Runs

Unless the absolute worst happen, all three of these guys will hit century mark in career homers within the first month of the season.

Riley and d'Arnaud sit at 97 currently, with Albies just one ahead at 98. Riley has hit 71 over the last two seasons, just behind New York's Pete Alonso for most in the NL in that span. d'Arnaud should still get plenty of plate appearances this year after the acquisition of Sean Murphy. The 33-yard old catcher might not surpass his career-high 18 home runs in 2023, but still has enough pop to be a threat at the plate.

Ozzie Albies will get his 100th career home run this year. That's not in really in doubt. The 26-year old second baseman is in a pivotal year after a down year in 2022 that was plagued by injuries. If Ozzie can return to form in 2023, the Braves can hit a new gear offensively this season.

Michael Harris II - 10 WAR

It might be a lofty goal for a 2nd-year player, but not every player is Michael Harris II.

The 21-year old was called up 5-6 weeks into the season, and immediately provided the Braves with a spark that led to the team's fifth straight NL East championship. He finished one home run short of a 20-20 season, won NL Rookie of the Year, and according to Baseball Reference, ended his first season with 5.3 WAR.

An average sophomore season from Harris would get him close to 10 career WAR, and from what we've seen so far, Harris is anything but average.

Max Fried - 700 Strikeouts

Atlanta's ace is entering the final two years of his rookie deal, and heading for a big payday in the next couple of seasons.

Fried has been one of the best pitchers since 2020, with a 2.68 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over the last three years. While his strikeout numbers aren't as high as his fellow rotation-mates Charlie Morton and Spencer Strider, Fried has put up solid numbers and sits 83 away from 700. 45 more and he'll pass Ed Brandt to move into the top 25 career strikeout leaders in Braves history.

Several other Braves within striking distance of smaller career accolades in 2022:

  • Eddie Rosario (474) - 500 RBI
  • Sean Murphy (46, 147) - 50 HR, 150 RBI
  • Orlando Arcia (488, 223) - 500 H, 250 RBI
  • Vaughn Grissom (41, 18) - 100 H, 100 RBI
  • Spencer Strider (202) - 400 K
  • Kyle Wright (233) - 300 K
  • Collin McHugh (920) - 1000 K
  • Tyler Matzek (262) - 300 K