2022 Atlanta Braves Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
World Series Odds: +1075
NL East Division Odds: +123
Over/Under Win Total: 90.5
No question that the goal is lofty for the Atlanta Braves this season, as the defending World Series champions they will be looking to duplicate the success of last year. Atlanta entered August of last season with a losing record and didn’t take control of the National League East until midway through August of 2021. They did all of this without superstar and MVP front runner Ronald Acuna Jr. and star pitcher Mike Soroka. Coming into 2022, the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets might be two of the more exciting storylines to follow as far as early divisional race predictions build. Both teams are predicted to get right around 90 wins. And depending on your gambling platform, the Mets are favored to win the division. Not to mention that the Phillies are projected for 88.5 wins this season, adding to one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. Only 14 teams in MLB history have been able to win two or more World Series in a row, the last being in 1999 when the New York Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves for their third World Series in a row.
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Even after winning the World Series, the Braves had a massive offseason. They traded for Matt Olson, which is arguably their biggest move of their offseason, but it didn’t come with lack of controversy. They got rid of long time Atlanta Braves favorite Freddie Freeman, "To be honest, I was blindsided," Freeman said. "I think every emotion came across. I was hurt." They also lost Jacques Peterson to the Giants, but in return they signed Colin McHugh, Darren O’Day, Tyler Thornburg, Kirby Yates and Kenley Jansen, to make this one the better bullpens in all of baseball. Coming into 2021, the Braves had many question marks around their bullpen, but guys like Tyler Matic and Luke Jackson showed why their one of the better bullpens in baseball, leading them all the way to a World Series win. Let’s look at the Braves starting lineup, which will not include Ronald Acuna Jr. until early May.
1. Ozzie Albies, 2B
2. Matt Olson, 1B
3. Austin Riley, 3B
4. Marcell Ozuna, RF
5. Eddie Rosario, LF
6. Adam Duvall, CF
7. Alex Dickerson, DH
8. Dansby Swanson, SS
9. Travis d'Arnaud, C
With much talk around the absence of Freeman and if will Olson be able to fill that void, a comparison over the past two seasons is in order. Freeman over the past two seasons has hit .311 with 44 homeruns, 136 RBI and a .951 OPS. Olson is about as close as you are to come to an exact Freeman replacement; both are tall, left-handed, defensively sound first baseman. Matt Olson over the last two seasons has hit .250 with 53 homeruns, 153 RBI and a .864 OPS. Alex Anthopolous has worked magic for the Braves organization, and I believe the Olsen deal is just another example of him playing chess while most of the league is playing checkers. The Braves ranked third in homeruns last year, had a OBP of .319 and a .244 average all without the best player in baseball for half of the year. The Braves will have a new-look at the cold corner, and other than Olson, Dickerson is the only batter in the projected starting lineup who wasn't with Atlanta last season, and he figures to split time at DH. One notable name absent from above is star outfielder Acuña Jr. He's still recovering from a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely. Expect to see him make his return sometime in May. One addition not mentioned above is backup catcher Manny Piña. He was a top tier free agent entering last winter and adds enormous amount of depth and experience to an already well-balanced Braves attack.
1. Max Fried, LHP
2. Charlie Morton, RHP
3. Ian Anderson, RHP
4. Huascar Ynoa, RHP
5. Tucker Davidson LHP
It has been a long time since the Braves had this solid of a starting-rotation, depth and options. The first three spots are set in stone with Fried, Morton and Anderson. Having so many attractive options for the remaining spots is particularly important, as the Braves plan to open with a six-man rotation because of the expanded 28-man MLB rosters for April and shortened spring ramp-up for starters.
The Braves will also be expecting the return of young star Mike Soroka to the starting rotation. Soroka, only 23, came out of nowhere in 2019, and at just age 20 he was named to the NL All-Star team at the age of 21 and finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting and second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Adding Soroka to an already World Series contending team will be like signing the biggest free agent in the offseason; the budding young star will make a huge impact at the top of the rotation. A pitching rotation that ranked top 15 in all major categories last year will look to improve with another year of experience and learning how to win a World Series under their belt.
Closer: Kenley Jansen, RHP
Setup: Will Smith, LHP; Collin McHugh, RHP
Middle: Tyler Matzek, RHP; Luke Jackson, RHP; Tyler Thornburg, RHP; A.J. Minter, LHP
After the spring free-agent signings of three-time All-Star closer Jansen and McHugh (1.55 ERA in 64 innings for Tampa Bay), an already strong bullpen became as deep as any in the majors.
This is undoubtedly where the Braves’ biggest advantage lies over last year’s team. Atlanta’s bullpen was lights out during the postseason, but they weren’t a very deep group, which is why they struggled mightily for most of the regular season. This year’s relief core is like 15 deep. There will be several high-quality arms that don’t even make the Opening Day roster.
I am all in on the Braves. I believe with a healthy lineup and their MVP, Acuna Jr., this team will surpass the 90-win margin and the win the very competitive NL East. It will be a dog race with the Mets and Phillies, but the Braves experience and winning culture created by the front office will pay dividends come end of August and September. This will make the fifth divisional win in a row for the Atlanta Braves.
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