The Atlanta Braves Could Lose Star Pitcher After 2024

Max Fried, star pitcher of the Atlanta Braves, is one of the most interesting pitchers of the 2024 season. Fried’s performance on the field is remarkable, with a career record of 62-26 (.705), an impressive ERA of 3.03, and a near 1:1 strikeouts to innings pitched rate. He has quietly set himself apart as one of the top pitchers under 30 in the NL. His stats and history going into his first big free agency years in 2025 are drawing comparisons with Blake Snell, the 2023 NL CY Young winner.

Fried’s performance in past seasons has consistently been exceptional. Despite dealing with injuries during the 2023 season, Fried achieved a stellar 8-1 record with a 2.55 ERA. His ability to bounce back from adversity is a testament to his resilience and determination, which will likely serve him well in the upcoming season.

What Can We Expect From Fried in 2024?

As the number-two man in the Braves rotation behind the skyrocketing superstar Spencer Strider, Fried will see his best year. He is healthy, pitching with a powerhouse lineup that will give him unprecedented run support. There is little reason to believe Fried won’t win 20 games.

Fangraphs ZIPs projections have him projected to start 32 games. With his career average of .705, it’s reasonable to expect 20 wins this season. The most he has won is 17 in 2019, so if he can stay healthy, 2024 will be his highest career win total in a single season.

Fried’s ERA is projected to be 3.15 in 177 innings in 2024, but over the last 44 starts spanning two seasons, he is averaging an ERA of 2.51. He rivals Jacob DeGrom¬†and Shohei Ohtani in efficiency. With his free agency looming, Fried will maintain this 2.50 mark in 2024.

With his career of 8.4 K/9 and 177 innings this season, 160 strikeouts over/under target would be expected. Take the over; this is Fried’s one shot to score a big contract and get serious money.

Fried Won’t be a Brave in 2025

The Braves are not prone to overpaying players whose best years are behind them. That will be the case if Fried has the year he is reasonably expected to and the Braves win the NL. They will let Fried walk at the end of this season. It’s the best thing for Fried and the Braves organization; Fried will get a huge deal, while the Braves got the best from a 30-year-old pitcher.

Fried’s West Coast roots have led to speculation that he could return home. Teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, and the San Diego Padres could potentially be in the running to sign Fried, should he decide to leave the Braves. But you can’t count out the Texas teams or the Diamondbacks as possible destinations. This speculation adds an exciting dynamic to the upcoming season, as Fried’s performances could attract attention from these teams.

One thing is sure: if Fried has his Blake Snell-type of year, he will be the hottest free agent on the market, and looking at $30 million a year next season, that’s all the motivation the Braves need from him.

Main Image: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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