The Atlanta Braves are World Series favorites for a reason. They won an MLB-best 104 games, and nearly set a record for most home runs in regular-season play by a team. Despite some severe injuries to the Atlanta pitching staff back in May, the Braves were able to weather the storm some. That's when the bats came alive, helping Brian Snitker's crew gain a substantial NL East advantage they would never come close to relinquishing.
FanSided's Robert Murray considers the Braves to be his own World Series frontrunners.
"On offense, they possess stars Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, Matt Olson and Ozzie Albies. They have an emerging young star in Michael Harris II and veteran players such as Marcell Ozuna, Eddie Rosario, Sean Murphy and Orlando Arcia. On the pitching side, they are led by young right-handed star Spencer Strider and have veterans Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Kyle Wright and Bryce Elder, among others...But the Braves should be able to overcome those injuries, especially with one of the best offenses in baseball, and have positioned themselves to once again represent the NL in the World Series."
In the Braves way of the NLDS is their rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. Philly surprised much of baseball last season with a World Series run through the NL Wild Card round. This included an NLDS victory over Atlanta, so these two teams have been here before.
If the Phillies were to pull off another masterful upset, Alex Anthopoulos would have a lot of work to do earlier in the offseason than he expected.
If the Braves lose, Charlie Morton's future is up in the air
Atlanta appears to want Morton back for another year right now. He offers a stable veteran presence in the middle of the Braves rotation that they would otherwise be missing. Per ESPN's Buster Olney, the only thing holding back a potential Morton return...is Morton.
"The Braves have not finalized this decision, and Morton hasn't officially declared that he wants to pitch another year. But the right-hander has had a good season, restoring some sharpness to his breaking ball while maintaining his fastball velocity, making the choice almost a no-brainer for the Atlanta front office," Olney wrote.
It's a no-brainer for Atlanta, but that does not mean Morton is willing to come back. Entering his age-40 season, Morton has put a lot of stress on his body this past season. As he gets older, Morton will have to take his MLB future year by year, and there's no guarantee that includes 2024.