The Atlanta Braves remain a competitive club in the NL East, but it hasn’t been easy for them to reach the World Series. The reigning NL East champs have the best chance to win the division, as our MLB predictions will highlight. Here are a few things you can note when looking at how well the Atlanta Braves will compete in 2021.
The greatest question for the Braves on the pitching front involves what will happen with Mike Soroka next. He underwent Achilles tendon surgery in August, and his ability to return in 2021 remains questionable.
Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and Kyle Wright will fill in the rotation. There are two new additions to the starting five, as Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly respectively signed with the Braves from the Tampa Bay Rays and the San Francisco Giants.
The bullpen with be without Mark Melancon, but the team has some talented relievers like Tyler Matzek and Jacob Webb. Josh Tomlin resigned with the team, although the veteran pitcher had a 4.76 ERA as a long reliever last season.
How the Offense Looks
The Braves have a talented offense that will compete well this season. Reigning MVP Freddie Freeman is out to prove that he’s still one of the best players in the game. Freeman went .341 with thirteen home runs last season. He shows all the makings of a five-tool player.
2020 was the year of #MVFree.
MVP, Silver Slugger, All-MLB 1st team. pic.twitter.com/kzYNxzPZpO
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) December 10, 2020
Ronald Acuna Jr. and Dansby Swanson both saw a few struggles last season, but they will be highly competitive in 2021. Both players had at least ten home runs each, as it shows they’re aiming to be talented power hitters.
But Acuna could also be a twenty-twenty player, as he had eight stolen bases in last year’s abbreviated season. Swanson also have five stolen bases, although whether he has the potential to be a twenty-twenty player remains unclear.
Travis d’Arnaud will be an exciting catcher to watch in 2021. He had a .321 average last season with nine home runs. He may be a surprise contender for the team’s home run title this season.
The departure of outfielder Marcel Ozuna doesn’t help, but the club has Cristian Pache on hand to replace him. Pache is the team’s top prospect and has been building his skills in the minors since being signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pache is being hyped as one of the best contact hitters in the Braves system and should make a significant impact in 2021.
Where Will the Braves Finish in 2021?
It won’t be hard for the Atlanta Braves to finish on top of the NL East this season. In addition to having a complete roster, the braves will fend off challenges from a rising New York Mets team and a Washington Nationals squad trying to rebound from a poor season.
How Far Can the Braves Go in the Playoffs?
We predict the Atlanta Braves will make it to the National League Championship Series. We are confident in their ability to contend, but the Los Angeles Dodgers will be too strong of a team.
The Braves still have a great shot of going somewhere this coming season. You can expect them to be high on many lists of MLB predictions this season.
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Image by: Ian D’Andrea