Did the Braves' preseason coaching changes doom their 2024 season from the start?

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves / Adam Hagy/GettyImages

It is tough to diagnose what is at the root of the Atlanta Braves' struggles this season. When the starters play well, the bats often don't show up. When the offense plays well, the rotation or bullpen struggles. The Braves have made things work well enough as this is still a team seven games above .500, but Atlanta has clearly and collectively played well-below expectations in 2024.

Some of these issues can be explained by injuries to key Braves players like Spencer Strider, Tyler Matzek, and of course Ronald Acuna Jr. However, Atlanta's issues have been almost systematic and could be rooted in the fact that they lost two highly regarded coaches last offseason in Ron Washington and Eric Young Sr.

The Braves losing Ron Washington and Eric Young Sr. be at the root of the team's problems

Most of the time, a team's coaching staff gets too much credit or blame. Even manager Brian Snitker has been the target of fans' ire at times during the Braves' slumps despite having incomplete information and the fact that the players were ultimately to blame. However, Washington and EY may fall in a different, more impactful group.

When Washington was hired away to manage the Angels and took Young Sr. with him, it was seen as a huge loss for the Braves. Washington in particular was universally beloved by the Braves' players and his attention to detail especially when it came to infield defense and finding unique ways to motivate players was invaluable during his time in Atlanta.

As for EY, he was great at providing insights into the unique challenges of playing outfield defense in certain parks and was a great baserunning coach that helped guys like Acuna Jr. tremendously in reading pitchers' deliveries.

Given the Braves' issues top to bottom, it is fair to wonder if losing two of the best coaches in baseball is taking a toll. No one should blame them for getting an opportunity and pouncing on it, but it doesn't make the loss hurt any less. There are plenty of teams that get their coaching staffs pillaged after a strong run of success and they find a way to make it work. For the Braves, that may be easier said than done.

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