After having typically appeared in the hallowed pages of Baseball Think Factory, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections have now been released at FanGraphs for eight years. The exercise continues this offseason. Below are the projections for the Atlanta Braves.
The foundation of Atlanta’s offense consists of Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Ozzie Albies. There’s little to worry about with this trio, short of the usual concerns about injuries. Albies and Acuña are still absurdly young, and the question isn’t whether they’ll play worse than in 2019, but just how much they’ll continue to grow. People tend to overrate the growth curves of young phenoms. Just because a guy hits 40 homers at 20 doesn’t mean he’ll 60 at age 27, though I do think Acuña will get his 40/40 year in 2020. While there’s always room for improvement, more typically, players who are great very quickly have limited additional upside. If we examined the greatest hitting phenoms in history — Mike Trout, Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Al Kaline, Mel Ott — we’d find they really didn’t grow as hitters after their early 20s.