Who will be the X-factor for the Atlanta Braves in 2024?

Every season, there are certain players who become paramount to a team's success. Who will that be for the Braves in 2024?

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

Another day, another round table discussion at the House that Hank Built. Today we discuss who we view at the X Factor for the Braves in 2024.

You can find our previous discussion on what Braves prospect you should keep an eye on here.

The participants are once again: Chase Owens, Eric Cole, Fred Owens, Gaurav Vedak, Mitchell Barbee, Sage Broda, Shayne Nissen, Steven Teal, and myself Trent Dickeson.

We were allowed to come up with whatever definition we wanted for X-Factor. So, let's take a look at who everyone thought would be the X-factor for the Atlanta Braves as we head into the 2024 season.

It's a tough decision to make as the Braves feature a good amount of talent to choose from and each player has the ability to effect the outcome of any game at any time. But who will be that one difference maker in 2024? Let's find out.

Who will be the X-factor for the Atlanta Braves this season?

Chase: I think the Braves are set up to have a special season in several different scenarios. A lot of people are going to be looking at newcomer Jarred Kelenic as a potential X-factor because they simply don’t know what he can do yet. For me, I’m going to label a different first-year Brave, Chris Sale as the guy here. I think what fans want at this point with the Braves is postseason success like they had in 2021. For that to happen I think one of Sale or Morton needs to be healthy and pitching well entering October. I think Sale will accomplish that, and pitch a big game three in the NLDS.

Eric: The Braves have a roster full of All-Stars, so picking a guy who isn’t already highly regarded is a bit tough. I’m going with Sean Murphy for a couple of reasons. One, he was the best catcher in baseball in the first half of 2023 and was a viable MVP candidate before he cratered in the second half. If he can do what he did in the first half over a full season, the Braves are going to be very tough to beat. Also, I think that if Murph can be more consistent, it puts a lot less pressure on Travis d’Arnaud, who really did look like a guy in the twilight of his career.

Mitchell: I expect Michael Harris II to have an incredible year. Overall, he was very good in 2023, but his overall numbers were brought down by a mediocre first half with the bat. If he can carrier over his success at the plate last season, coupled with Gold Glove-caliber defense, Ronald Acuña Jr. might have competition for NL MVP on his own team in the outfield. 

Sage: Backend starting pitchers will be vital for the Braves' success. Morton and Sale bring a veteran presence that will be critical as young pitchers like Elder and Smith-Shawver continue to develop. However, from a hitting standpoint, Ozzie Albies continues to be a player who flies under the radar. If he can stay healthy, the Braves will have a solidified defender behind 2nd. Furthermore, as his splits even out from both sides of the plate, opposing pitchers will have difficulty getting through the lineup 2-3 times.

Gaurav: A roster filled with premier talent across most positions makes this question especially difficult but I will have to go with Kelenic. If Kelenic comes close to 90% of his potential you have three outfielders capable of going at least 25/25 (...and then Ronald), along with a stacked infield, and a pitching staff that is very strong overall. There are questions regarding that fifth spot, but a very strong bullpen helps curb that. 

Steven: I think Jarred Kelenic is primed for a great season for the Braves. We’ve seen this story too many times. Atlanta goes out and gets a player who has been struggling, tweaks a couple of things, and boom, that player turns into something special. Similarly to how Atlanta helped unlock Michael Harris II’s swing, the same likely happens with Kelenic. He’s a good baserunner and if he can cut down on the strikeouts, he’s a dangerous tool for the Braves. 

Fred: As Ozzie goes, so go the Braves; he’s not the best hitter on the team but he completes the team. Without him, the team doesn’t enjoy playing as much. The x-factor for Anthopoulos’ offseason is Kelenic. The team can carry an underperforming left fielder, but AA paid well over the odds betting Kelenic would bloom without the pressure of being the big prospect. He has the tools but teams have ruined prospects by bringing them up too early. If he lives up to his 70-power, he could cover some of the regression we’ll see from Arcia. 

Shayne: As much as I’d love to pick someone from the lineup, there are just too many, forget All-Star, but MVP-caliber players for any one player to be an X-factor. This lineup will hit and put up a lot of runs even if someone slumps or has down stretches. Where the Braves will be either a very good team or an elite team is with the pitching staff. Strider and Fried will carry their weight, but I believe if Chris Sale can come anywhere near the stratosphere of where he was in 2018 and 19, that could catapult the Braves to a level even higher than last season, which is hard to believe. Staying healthy is the key, because it’s clear in what he was able in stretches last season, the stuff is there to be a major factor for this Braves team.

Trent: I can see newcomers Kelenic & Sale making sense for the answer but for me, the answer is always Ozzie Albies. Remember a year ago when people were saying Ozzie was one of the most overrated players in baseball? Fun times. Much like Fred mentioned in his answer, Ozzie makes the game more enjoyable for the entire team. Ozzie will never win an MVP and it probably depends on your definition of superstar if he fits that status. Ozzie is one of the leaders of the team. He brings the energy the team needs. While Acuna can win an MVP, Riley & Olson can change the game with the HR ball, and Harris puts up a web gem in center field, Ozzie Albies is the heartbeat of the team. When Ozzie is healthy, the team plays better. He is a vital member of the team and is a leader in the clubhouse all while being one of the best second basemen in all of baseball.


There was no real consensus pick here! The three names you see the most are Jarred Kelenic, Chris Sale, and Ozzie Albies. Each player provides a plethora of reasons why they could play a huge role in how the Braves fair in 2024.

The team is a World Series favorite as we enter 2024 and rightfully so. These X-factors will likely play an important role if the Braves are going to make a run at their second title in 4 years. The beauty of baseball is that the X-factor for Atlanta may not have even been listed above.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built