As has become a gladdening annual tradition, Dan Szymborski’s team-by-team rollout of ZiPS projections for the upcoming season has now alit on the Braves. You can read all about it here: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2022-zips-projections-atlanta-braves/.
In short, and in pretty much expected fashion, this is a positive outlook for the reigning World Series champions. There aren’t too many surprises if you’ve followed the Braves and their production over the last few years, but it’s still kind of cool to add up the various WAR totals on the handy ballpark graphic in the aforementioned post and easily clear 40 WAR, even without Freddie Freeman. (For comparison, the Braves in total accrued just over 38 fWAR last year.)
Unsurprisingly, the big contributors are Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Max Fried, with above-average assistance from Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson, and Austin Riley. That’s a strong core group, and in addition, the Braves lack extreme weak spots — while the outfield could use some upgrades and there’s a far-too-obvious Freddie Freeman-shaped hole on the roster, the ship’s not really leaking in every direction or anything. In particular, ZiPS gives the pitching high marks in its forecast, as the WAR totals therein suggest something like a top 5-ish rotation and upper-third (or better) relief corps.
Some maybe-notable projections include:
- Adam Duvall with 2 WAR in around 500 PAs;
- Shea Langeliers with as much WAR projected as Marcell Ozuna (1.6) in around 400 PAs for each.
- Relatively high marks for Kyle Wright, Bryce Elder, Kyle Muller, and Spencer Strider, each in the 1-2 win range in around 90-140 innings totaling 22-26 starts.
It should be a fun season for the Braves, assuming it ever gets off the ground.