To the surprise of nobody, the Braves have made it official and have named Max Fried the opening day starter for 2021.
The now 27 year old is coming off of back-to-back fantastic years and has seen his stock rise amongst pitchers around the league. In a shortened 2020 season Max accumulated a 1.5 fWAR in just 56 innings with a 8.04 K/9, 2.25 ERA, and 3.10 FIP. Max saw his walk rate jump to 3.05 walks per nine but all things considered - put in a fantastic season that would have put him tied for 10th in fWAR amongst pitchers in the NL had he qualified.
Since 2019, Max is now 24-6, including a perfect 7-0 in 2020 with a 3.57 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9. You can officially name him one of the biggest keys to the Braves rebuild after he was acquired for Justin Upton from the San Diego Padres. After battling with injuries, namely blisters, Max has blossomed as a starter and will likely be a key piece of the Braves organization for several more years and will battle for opening day honors as well.