Who will be the Braves pitching MVP?
Kris: It would be easy to say Charlie Morton, but I can’t pick anyone other than Max Fried. I am not sure enough has been said about Fried’s 2021 season honestly. He struggled early with an 11.45 ERA through his first three starts along with a trip to the injured list. He came back in a big way and along with Morton, was the anchor for the rotation. I think this could be the season where Fried takes his game to yet another level and perhaps into Cy Young contention.
Eric: My heart wants to say Charlie Morton given how his season ended last year and how reliable he was, I’m going to go with Max Fried. Again, won’t be surprised if Ian or Morton end up better, but Fried’s stuff is so good when he is on and he seemed like he leveled up in the postseason when the team needed him most.
Stephen: When it comes to pitching, I’m always more comfortable taking the known vs the unknown. Charlie Morton has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for years and until he starts looking like something else, he’s my pick. It’s tempting to pick a reliever given how this team is currently built but it’s highly unlikely any one guy will pitch enough innings to overtake the best starter.
Ivan: Speaking of evolution, Max Fried’s development in both the macro sense (from injured, command-questionable prospect to top-flight starter) and the micro sense (new pitches!) has been a great thing to follow. Fried showed in 2021 that a lot of preseason skepticism about his switch to a contact-management approach was ill-founded because he could and did reverse it. That makes me think that even if he runs into some kind of mechanical or approach issue, he has the ability to address it in-season.
DJourn: I’ll go with the newcomer of the group and select Kenley Jansen. With Luke Jackson already dealing with forearm tenderness, the added depth to the bullpen already looks like a smart play by the front office. Jansen finally gets to play for the Braves and ends up putting together a 40+ save season as the Braves closer.
Brad: I’ll take Charlie Morton. He’s old, and this may be a silly pick, but I do think he has the highest baseline as long as age doesn’t take over. The lack of offseason build-up could be a little bit concerning, and Max Fried is very good, but I’ve long been a Morton guy.
Demetrius: I’m also excited about Charlie Morton returning from injury after he pulled a Greg Jennings-in-Madden and pitched an inning in the World Series on a broken leg. With that being said, I’m even more excited to see if Max Fried can take another jump and enter into the truly elite echelon of pitchers in Major League Baseball. I wanted to go with the bullpen as a whole, but we all know how volatile relievers can be so I can’t just hop on here and say that this relief corps is just going to dominate. With that being said, it’s going to be real fun watching them put the clamps down on opposing hitters once Fried and the other starters are done.
Scott: Max Fried: World Series hero, dark horse 2022 Cy Young candidate? It wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to see Max take yet another step forward this season. As long as he, Morton and Anderson are healthy, the Braves are as good as any club in baseball.
Cassidy: I’m going with Collin McHugh because of the multiple roles he can fill from opener, long relief, high leverage and even closer. He is the Swiss Army knife of the bullpen that is also going to hopefully take pressure off the young backend of the rotation.
Daniel: It seems like a toss-up between Fried and Morton to me, but I’ll take Fried because I think he might find another level of consistency at his top level this season and because while I think Charlie will be good, age comes for everyone eventually.
Wayne: I don’t think we know yet. Max Fried, Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson are a sexy Big Three that can matchup with any rotation. I think the Braves pitching MVP is TBD and could be the No. 4 guy in the rotation, someone that turns into a real bulldog and limits this strong bullpen’s use while giving the Braves a chance to win every fourth day.