Is there any cause for concern for the Atlanta Braves heading into 2024?

The main question most teams have to ask themselves every year is where can we improve? The Braves don't have a lot of things to improve so what could go wrong?

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Today, we are going to pop on the pessimistic cap and discuss what could be cause for concern for the Atlanta Braves as we approach the 2024 season. We did not want to do it but it needed to be done.

If you missed our last roundtable discussion on how many wins the Braves will have in 2024, you can check that out here.

A smaller crew for this particular topic include: Chase Owens, Fred Owens, Gaurav Vedak, Sage Broda, Shayne Nissen, Steven Teal, and myself Trent Dickeson.

We think the Braves should be really good in 2024. However, no team is perfect. We are going to highlight some areas that could be cause for concern for our favorite team entering the new season.

Cause for concern for the Braves in 2024

Chase: The default answer to slowing a talented team down is always injuries. Then you look at the places most susceptible to injury, likely the rotation in the Braves case. I think the Braves have plenty enough talent to win the division again even if a top arm like Strider or Fried goes down. However, if multiple guys go down out of Strider, Fried, Morton, and Sale, then I do think the Phillies have enough talent to close the gap and take the NL East for the first time since 2011.

Sage: The only thing that can really slow the Braves down is injuries. The Braves run aggressively and are not shy from the inside part of the plate. They have a deep starting rotation and bullpen but are susceptible to age with Morton and Sale. If one of them goes down again, Atlanta will have to rely on the roller coaster of young prospects still searching for consistency. Acuna being the heartbeat of the lineup is critical to hit and run to keep the lineup rolling.

Gaurav: Sans injury, because injury concerns are a concern for every team, because this team is so well built if they stay relatively healthy my main concern is a hurricane coming in and destroying Truist Park. 

Fred: Injury to a corner infielder. We have OF depth, pitching depth, and catching depth, but an injury to Olson or Riley pokes a hole in the lineup that we cannot fill with anything resembling the defense, much less the bat. I know Ozuna has a first baseman’s glove, but that doesn’t impress me and I don’t to see Riley there because it weakens two positions.  I really wish we were paying Votto the money we’re wasting on David Fletcher.

Shayne: Injury is always the biggest cause for concern and if a couple of key guys get hurt on the offensive side and you combine that with the rotation behind Strider and Fried not working out as well as hoped, you could be in for a dogfight with the Phillies, who are still a very good team. 

Steven: Health is the biggest concern for the Braves in 2024 especially with the starting rotation. Yes, the Braves have pitching depth but if Sale and Morton were to go down, you’ve got to depend on young arms again. One of Atlanta’s biggest issues in the postseason has been a lack of pitching depth and having to use inexperienced arms in big games. That will be something they need to be mindful of. 

Trent: Outside of the injury concern that everyone above me spoke of, I will bring up pitching. I do think the Braves have several options to fill in for either the rotation or bullpen but pitching is never a guarantee, plus the Braves do have a disaster scenario with a non-zero chance of popping up. Chris Sale may not be healthy.

Charlie Morton has shown his age recently and it could be worse in 2024. Bryce Elder's first half of 2023 may have been a mirage. Reynaldo Lopez might not work out as a starter. AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep have crazy potential but are not finished products. Darius Vines, Allan Winans, and Dylan Dodd are fine depth pieces. What if Raisel Iglesias is not a lockdown closer? Is Tyler Matzek healthy? Bullpen arms are volatile in general.

I say all that with the mindset that I think the Braves pitching should be really good in 2024 and I expect them to be. As mentioned, there is a non-zero chance that it could be a big problem. I think it is unlikely but that would be my choice for this particular question.

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