Sale completed 102 2/3 innings over 20 starts last year. The Braves won’t put an innings limit on him, but they certainly know the 34-year-old's workload must be managed to create the chance for him to be effective in the playoffs. Atlanta plans to have him in the rotation at the start of the season, but it could limit his pitch counts during early-season starts, skip some side sessions and create extra rest between starts whenever possible.
The Braves’ rotation is headed by Fried and Strider. Sale doesn’t have to be the ace throughout the regular season, but if he’s capable of pitching like a frontline starter in October, Atlanta could have an enjoyable postseason.
3. How might Ronald Acuña Jr. top his historic 40-70 season?
Is it even wise to predict how Acuña could follow a season during which he hit 41 homers and tallied 73 stolen bases? Remember, nobody had previously collected more than 46 steals during a 40-homer season. Heck, nobody had swiped more than 52 bags during a 30-homer season.
Acuña went to a level only he seemingly could reach again. But how realistic is it to project he will even flirt with another 40-70 season? And shouldn’t we celebrate another incredible season if he falls short and ends up with just a 40-40 season? It would be just the sixth 40-40 season in MLB history, and he would be the only player who has accounted for more than one.