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Braves name Max Fried Opening Day starter

Braves name Max Fried Opening Day starter

With this week being the final full week of Spring Training, and the regular season set to begin next Thursday, Braves manager Brian Snitker finally named his starter for the team’s 2022 regular season opener against the Reds – lefty Max Fried.

The decision isn’t much of a surprise. We knew it was going to come down to either Fried or the veteran right-hander Charlie Morton. Remember, the Braves will be utilizing a six-man starting rotation to begin the regular season, giving each pitcher a little more rest as the team heads into a 14-consecutive-game stretch to start off the year.

Fried, entering his age-28 campaign, is coming off a career season in 2021, featuring a 3.04 ERA in 28 starts, to go with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. His 165 2/3 innings last year tied his career-high from 2019, his first season as a full-time starter in Atlanta. In fact, that ’19 performance was the start of it all for Fried. Since then, the left-hander has been a key cog in the Braves starting rotation, posting a 3.35 ERA overall in a combined 387 1/3 innings in that span. Over the last three seasons, Fried has averaged 2.7 fWAR as a major leaguer, which includes a season not even mentioned above – the shortened 2020 campaign, which ended with him receiving Cy Young votes as he finished the year with a stingy 2.25 ERA in 11 starts.

I’ll be previewing the Braves season opening series versus the Reds sometime time next week, taking a look at each team’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how each club matches up with one another. But a quick look at Fried at Baseball Reference shows that he has faced Cincinnati a few times over his big league career (though none last season), totaling seven innings that span one start and two relief appearances. Overall, the Braves starter has pitched to a 5.14 ERA versus the Reds.

So far in spring camp, Fried has made one start for Atlanta, going three hitless innings that featured one strikeout. I would imagine he’ll get at least one more outing down in Florida between now and Opening Day, most likely as soon as this coming weekend. Prospect Kyle Muller is slated to start Thursday’s spring matchup against the Rays.

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