Atlanta Braves 2024: The Year Of Living Dangerously

The big "Atlanta Braves" sign at the entrance to Truist Park

by John A. Tures, Professor of Political Science, LaGrange College

Cobb County Braves fans are about to be in for what could be the wildest ride ever since the team uprooted itself from Turner Field to make the transition to what became Truist Park. They’re rated as having the second-best odds of winning the World Series, and have a franchise in better shape for a dynasty than any other team. But the team could just as easily fall short of their lofty goals, felled by the injury bug. There’s only one way this Braves 2024 unit can pull it off: preparing for the next man up.

Fanduel Sportsbook gave the Braves the second greatest odds to win the World Series, slightly beyond the Los Angeles Dodgers, ahead of the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, reigning champs the Texas Rangers, and their nemesis: The Philadelphia Phillies.

The franchise is in economically good shape. As Fansided reports the Atlanta Braves boosted their revenue from $262 million in 2016 to $600 million in 2023. “Did they get all of that money from parking costs?” my wife quipped. Joking aside, the year-round income and area built up around the park make this one of the best baseball businesses, making the debate over moving from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County one that’s become pretty much moot.

And, with A.A.’s magic and those Braves whose contracts show a commitment to building a great team, the team can consistently field one of the best in baseball, and compete for a title every year.

So what do the Braves have to worry about?

1) Ronald Acuna’s Knee.

2) Chris Sale’s Health

3) Max Fried’s Contract

Acuna’s knee isn’t feeling so great. Chris Sale looks like dynamite in Spring Training, but has a history of injury. And Max Fried’s contract hangs in the balance. Not only will the Braves ace be hard to replace, but what if Atlanta had to face him in the regular season, or postseason?

There’s only one solution for the team: Next man up. That puts a little more pressure on Jarred Kelenic from Seattle, who is looking to rebuild his career, or Forrest Wall to continue his torrid streak which began in the minors. Marcell Ozuna must also show he’s still back, while the rest of the Braves stars (Michael Harris, Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Orlando Albies and Austin Riley) simply need to be themselves. Sean Murphy and Travis D’Arnaud must continue to produce as they did for much of the season.

As for Max Fried, there’s only one policy that makes rational sense. If there’s a player that matches the Braves ace on the free agent market or among the Atlanta rookies, then Max can test the free agent waters. That means his replacement must demonstrate actual skill, not just potential. Without that, the Braves can’t afford to let him go, and face him in a short series.

And for the postseason, the Braves need to strongly consider implementing a six-man rotation, to go easy on the arms. That could keep Fried, Spencer Strider, Chris Sale, Charley Morton, Bryce Elder and Reynaldo Lopez from breaking down, and get a news starter ready in case one falters or is injured. That would give the health for the starters to go a little longer, keeping the bullpen from being gassed at the end of the year. All of that should help the team have more energy for a postseason run, instead of being exhausted at the end.

It’s important for Cobb County’s Braves fans to realize that while they have question marks, so too do many other teams. The strategies the coaches, general manager Alex Anthopoulos and the ownership craft could be the difference between fielding a dynasty or a disappointment this season.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia. His views are his own. He can be reached at His Twitter account is JohnTures2.