JAUDON SPORTS: Atlanta Braves 2023 Season Preview | Storylines, Key players, Batting lineup & pitching rotation outlook

It’s the most wonderful time of year. The Major League Baseball season begins with Opening Day on Thursday, March 30. The Atlanta Braves will start their pursuit of a sixth straight National League East division title in Washington and St. Louis with three games apiece against the Nationals and Cardinals.

Before I get to my thoughts on the club, let’s take a look at some of the predictions and betting odds for the Braves and manager Brian Snitker in 2023.

Most Las Vegas sportsbooks including Bet MGM and Caesars, have Atlanta’s win total set at over/under 95.5. Last year, the Braves won 101 games en route to the division title. FanGraphs projects the Braves to finish with a record of 93-69. The website also gives the Braves the highest postseason chances of any team in baseball (90.3% to make playoffs). FanGraphs projects Atlanta to win the NL East (56.4%) and contend for a World Series title (14.1%).

ESPN projections have the Braves ranked No. 3 in their preseason power rankings of all 30 MLB teams. Only the Astros and Padres are ranked higher. The four-letter network has the Bravos finishing at 94-68 with an 85% chance of making the playoffs and 10.5% to win the World Series.

Clearly, the baseball world is high on Atlanta’s chances this season. For good reason, too.

DraftKings has several Braves players in the running for NL MVP honors. Ronald Acuña Jr. (+850) is the No. 3 betting favorite behind Juan Soto (+550) and Trea Turner (+800). Other Braves listed with odds include Austin Riley (+1600) and Matt Olson (+2500).

OK. Got that taken care of. From numbers, to names. Let’s take a closer look at the 2023 Atlanta Braves.

click to enlarge JAUDON SPORTS: Atlanta Braves 2023 Season Preview | Storylines, Key players, Batting lineup & pitching rotation outlook
Kim Klement/UTSN
Austin Riley


  1. Ronald Acuña Jr., RF

  2. Matt Olson, 1B

  3. Austin Riley, 3B

  4. Marcell Ozuna, DH

  5. Ozzie Albies, 2B

  6. Sean Murphy, C

  7. Eddie Rosario, LF

  8. Orlando Arcia, SS

  9. Michael Harris II, CF

The first three spots in the lineup are a lock with Acuña, Olson and Riley all capable of making a run at the MVP Award if they can remain healthy atop the order. If there is any concern about the offense, it’s the uncertainty in the heart of the lineup behind the big three bats. Ozuna is going to get a chance, especially so against left-handers (like Patrick Corbin on Opening Day versus the Nationals).

Albies looks like he is ready to go, having hit four homers in the spring in his first action since suffering from season-ending injuries in 2022. Harris II will bat near the 7-8-9 spot. That means Atlanta will have 30-30 threats at the top and bottom of its lineup. Murphy will likely catch most of the time, but backup catcher Travis d’Arnaud should see several starts per week at DH or behind the dish.

Veterans Kevin Pillar and Sam Hilliard are the backup outfielders while Ehire Adrianza is the backup middle infielder.

click to enlarge JAUDON SPORTS: Atlanta Braves 2023 Season Preview | Storylines, Key players, Batting lineup & pitching rotation outlook
Kim Klement/UTSN
Max Fried


  1. Max Fried

  2. Spencer Strider

  3. Charlie Morton

  4. Kyle Wright

  5. Jared Shuster

Again, the top is locked in here. In a contract year, Fried will try to have a big season on his way out of Atlanta. It’s the third straight season when one of the best, and longest tenured Braves is heading toward free agency (Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson in 2021 and 2022). Freeman and Swanson each had career seasons in their final campaigns with the club, I predict Fried to do something similar.

Wright is lined up to join the regular rotation around April 7 against the Padres (first home series of the season). He’ll begin the year on the IL, allowing Dylan Dodd and Shuster to pitch in the bigs at the back of the starting staff. One of the rookies will likely go down and one will likely remain once Wright returns. Both will be needed throughout the season as injuries and fatigue set in for older guys like Morton and to protect precious cargo like Strider.

Michael Soroka and Ian Anderson will also be likely entrants into the rotation at some point during the year.


This will be a constantly changing unit as it always is, but there are a few arms who will be counted on early, late and often as the Braves begin the season with nine men in the bullpen. Raisel Iglesias, the Atlanta closer, is on the injured list as the season starts. Barring any setbacks, he’ll be back within a month.

Until then, AJ Minter and Nick Anderson are the probable closer options for Snitker. Joe Jiménez is a new addition who is also capable of late inning work as is Kirby Yates. Familiar faces like Collin McHugh and Jesse Chavez will handle the long-relief and mop-up duties and Michael Tonkin is expected to pitch in the first series of the season before probably being sent through waivers to AAA.


NL PLAYOFF TEAMS: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, Brewers

AL PLAYOFF TEAMS: Yankees, Twins, Astros, Guardians, Blue Jays. Mariners

WORLD SERIES: Astros over Braves

NL MVP: Matt Olson

AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani

NL CY YOUNG: Julio Urias

AL CY YOUNG: Alek Manoah

About The Author

Travis Jaudon

Travis Jaudon has been writing in Savannah since 2016 and is host of Hot Grits Podcast. Follow Travis on Twitter/Instagram @JaudonSports. Email him at travisLjaudon@gmail.com
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