B.S. Report: Beginning of new chapter for Braves
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – This Saturday, a new chapter of Braves baseball will begin.
I don’t want to put too much pressure on Sean Newcomb, the young man who will make his major league debut against the Mets. But we have waited on the new group of Braves pitching prospects to graduate since this rebuilding project began a little less than three years ago. The Braves stressed pitching in their rebuild, and they’ve accumulated the most quantity of pitching prospects of any team in the sport. Soon, we will see if the quality is there as well.
Newcomb was a first-round draft pick of the Angels a few years ago out of college. The Braves got him in the Andrelton Simmons trade a year-and-a-half ago. Newcomb was the main piece in that deal, as he was the Angels’ best prospect at the time of the trade. He’s a big kid, 6-5 and 255 pounds. He’s been compared to Cubs’ lefty Jon Lester because of his size and because he can throw hard. Newcomb is one of those pitchers who strikes out a lot of batters and also walks a lot of batters. He has struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings in his minor league career, but he’s walked 4.8 batters per nine innings. That makes his pitch count stay higher than normal in many games.
But Newcomb doesn’t allow a lot of hits. In his 348 minor league innings, he’s allowed just 271 hits – that’s a great ratio. The Braves are anxious to see if Newcomb is ready, and that question – of when a pitching prospect is ready – is one of the most difficult to answer for a team.
Look, most young pitchers take time to get their feet under them. Take Mike Foltynewicz as an example. He’s spent parts of the last two years in the Atlanta rotation, and even though he led the Braves starters in wins last year, Foltynewicz finally looks like a pitcher this season. The point is, we’ve got to have patience with Newcomb and every other starting pitcher the Braves bring up the next few years. Most of them don’t arrive on the scene and immediately become a star. It takes time, as Foltynewicz has proven to us.
Newcomb will be the first of many young starters to come up, and we just have to have patience. But even if Newcomb or some of the others struggle, can that really be any worse than what we’ve had to watch with Bartolo Colon? We all know Colon was just here for a little while, until the Sean Newcombs of the world were ready for Atlanta. But watching a 44-year-old struggle to stay in the big leagues is a lot different than watching a young pitcher find his way. Newcomb will hopefully show us signs, just as Foltynewicz did, that he’s got a future in this game and with the Braves.
We’ll have hope with Newcomb, instead of wondering if we should ever watch another baseball game again when watching Colon.
So, be patient with Newcomb, but enjoy watching him pitch on Saturday. He will be the first of many to graduate to Atlanta in the next several years. This is what we’ve been waiting for, and if the plan goes well, these young pitchers are what will once again make the Braves a winning team.