3 Atlanta Braves who will be better in 2024 and 2 who won't

The Atlanta Braves are on a shortlist of teams who can realistically win the World Series this year.

Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
Max Fried, Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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1. Bryce Elder may forever be chasing his strong first-half of 2023

This doesn't feel great, but I'm just going for it. We will know pretty quickly if Bryce Elder's stellar first half to last year was the anomaly, or a sign or more good things to come. It seems as though a pitcher who pitches to contact ran out of gas as the season progressed. He may not have been ready for a full-season's workload in the Atlanta rotation, but that is what the team asked of him all last season.

While I do think he will be better equipped to handle a full-season's worth of starts, Elder may be forever chasing his incredible first half with the Braves last year, one that helped him be named a surprising NL All-Star. Elder is slated to be the Braves' fifth starter behind Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Charlie Morton and Chris Sale, probably in that order. Fifth starters are a luxury, but is Elder even one?

All it takes is a bad month for him to be sent back down to the minors. This has happened to Braves pitchers before, most notably and recently with Ian Anderson, and to some extent, Michael Soroka. With AJ Smith-Shawver chomping at the bit for his chance to have staying power in the rotation, it will be up to Elder to keep Atlanta's former top prospect at bay. In essence, Elder has a very short leash.

Elder may be relied upon to toe the rubber every fifth day in Atlanta, but he will not be an NL All-Star.

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