The Braves are heading into the 2021 season falling just one game short of reaching the World Series in 2020 after having a 3-1 series lead on the Dodgers in the NLCS.
The expectations for the Braves this year are to get over that hump and reach, and ideally win, the World Series.
For that to actually happen, the Braves are relying on a lot of "what-if's."
The Braves had a relatively quiet offseason with their biggest splash being the re-signing of OF/DH Marcell Ozuna. They did add a pair of starters in Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly at the start of free agency as well.
While the Braves' front office was sitting on its hands, the Dodgers went out and added the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer.
So what has the Braves thinking World Series? The best-case scenario does.
The Braves are relying on a number of things they didn't have last season to change their luck against the Dodgers and the rest of the National League this time around, but should they?
The Braves come into this year with a lot of, 'if this happens, we'll be in great shape.' And while some of those most likely will happen, others certainly will not.
So what are the biggest what-if's for Atlanta this season?
• Mike Soroka's timeline to return and his form when he does get back
• No sophomore slump for Ian Anderson
• Max Fried will continue to look like a Cy Young candidate
• Marcell Ozuna's defense won't be an issue in left field
• Austin Riley will finally show he's an every-day third baseman
• The bullpen has enough top-end arms to figure out the closer and set-up roles
• Morton and Smyly will give you consistent innings and prevent the bullpen from being overworked
• Christian Pache doing enough at the plate to not be a hole in the lineup
• Ronald Acuña Jr. is fully healthy and will finally achieve 40-40
While there are certainly more questions surrounding the team, those are just a few of the situations the team needs the "best-case scenario" of to reach its full potential as World Series Champions in 2021.