6) Best pitchers in the NL East: Max Fried
Over the course of the last couple of seasons, Max Fried has developed into a legitimate ace for a Braves team that needed one. Mike Soroka appeared to be headed down that road, but injuries have set him back and have catapulted Fried into that role. As the leader of the Braves staff, Fried has not disappointed.
The southpaw had a 3.04 ERA in the 2021 regular season. He then had three excellent starts of his five total postseason starts including six shutout innings in the decisive Game 6 of the World Series to beat the Astros.
That start, combined with what he's done this season, has elevated Fried into the top six discussion for best pitcher in this loaded division.
This season, Fried is enjoying a career year. He's gone 11-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 23 starts. Fried ranks fourth in the National League in ERA and is second in the National League with his 2.50 FIP.
Fried has a similar profile to Nola. He walks just 1.5 batters per nine, which ranks second in the National League just behind Nola. He's allowed just seven home runs all season. His 0.4 HR/9 leads the majors.
When you don't walk anyone and don't allow home runs, it becomes very hard to score runs. Fried has gone five or more innings in every single start and has gone six or more in all but four.
With the Braves elite offense behind him, Fried has proven time and time again that he is the ace they've been looking for and will be their Game 1 starter in any postseason series.