Atlanta Braves 2021 Preview
The 2020 Atlanta Braves went 35-25 , normalized that would be 95-67. This team was as good as their record shows. They played maybe the most boring postseason game of all time though on September 30th against the Reds in 1-0 win. The game went 13 innings and lasted a grueling 4 hours before the first run was scored. It was not a pitching duel but more like overweight Kimbo Slice vs overweight Dada 5000. Which one would fall on their own face first. It was a tough watch but the Braves bounced back to be within one win of the World Series before the Dodgers made an all time comeback.
2021 should be much of the same. Recent projections have the Braves finishing 4th in the NL East. While they did a have a player or two play above their heads in 2020 they also got bitten by the injury bug. No reason to think this team can not win the division or more in 2021.
The rotation adds one of the best big game pitchers in Charlie Morton. The king of Game Sevens. The rest of the rotation showed flashes of ace potential. Soroka coming back from a bad injury leaves a question mark, and Max Fried and Ian Anderson dazzled the second half last year. As long as they can be 70% of what they were last year this rotation will be in top quarter of the league. In the bullpen they have a lot of innings eaters and guys that throw wiffleballs. Great recipe for success.
The offense when right, can be elite. There is a ton of swing and miss in the lineup but that is ok in todays 3 true outcome game. Freddie Freeman remains as good and solid as it comes at first, gives a nice balance to the swag and excitement around the rest of the team. Acuna saw his batting average dip in 2020 but his on base rise as he worked more counts. There still remains some untapped batting eye and contact in his at bats and I we all cannot wait for it. I still dont believe in Austin Riley. Nothing he has done has shown me he can be the answer at 3rd, which the Braves obviously feel the same way as they were in the market for Justin Turner. Look for them to upgrade there is possible. I also expect the Braves calling the commish every day trying to get the DH to the NL as Marcell Ozuna is a liability in the field, despite how entertaining it is. Dansby was the best version of himself at the plate and the Braves need him to continue to get on base and advance runners the same way. I think this team wins 93 wins and makes the playoffs as a Wild Card.
Spring training watch is always fun and the Braves do not disappoint. Inviting Carl Edwards Jr, who would be a great fit in the bullpen if he can regain his confidence. Jason Kipnis holding on hope to keep playing ball. Non other then Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, received a minor league contract and also listed as the back up at 3rd.
On the coaching staff the Braves got ole coke nose Ron Washington. Sal Fasasno as the catchers coach and of course Chipper Jones as a made up position of "hitting consultant". They must owe him money or something. Down in triple-a Alfredo Amezaga as the coach, he might be better at third the Riley or Sandoval. Lastly in High-A Rome the coach's name is Porky Lopez. I do not know who he is but I like him already.
I can not find food for 2021, however they already renamed the park "Truist Park" so that's something. Here is to the 2022 "Atlanta Baseball Team"