The B.S. Report: Braves loading up on pitching

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Braves won 14 division titles from 1991 through 2005 with great starting pitching as the main reason.

And now, as the team tries to get back on track after two years of rebuilding, pitching is again at the forefront.

General manager John Coppolella has rebuilt the organization around pitching. He’s tried to get a pitcher in every trade, and pitching has been the main focus of the last two drafts. And now, as the Braves have the best farm system in baseball, pitching is the reason.

The Braves brought in three stopgap veterans for this season. Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey are both in their 40s, while Jaime Garcia is in the last year of his contract. They did this to bridge the gap and give more of their young pitchers time to develop.

Now, I’ve covered the Braves for a long time, and I have followed the minor league since I was a kid. The Braves had a ton of pitching back in the late-1980s, before they went on the historic run. I’m not saying the Braves have two future Hall of Famers in the minor leagues now, like they did back then. But as far as quantity, the Braves have never – and I mean never – had this much pitching.

Now, you can never have enough pitching, but the Braves are testing that argument. They have Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz ready to complement the three old guys in Atlanta; Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair will be in Triple-A Gwinnett, along with Lucas Sims. They’ll be joined by Sean Newcomb, the pitcher the Braves got in the Andrelton Simmons deal. Then in Double-A, the Braves will have Max Fried and Patrick Weigel. Newcomb, Fried and Weigel could all knock on the door this season. And don’t count out Wisler and Blair from making a difference either. That’s five pitchers right there who could be close.

Then, in High-A in Florida, the Braves will have the most talented minor league rotation in the game. They will have five legitimate starting pitching prospects – Kolby Allard, Luiz Gohara, Mike Soroka, Ricardo Sanchez and Touki Toussaint. All of these kids won’t make it. Some will simply fizzle out. Some will not be as good as they are now. Some may get hurt. And some may get traded. But there is strength in numbers. If a few of these kids develop into legit starting pitchers, the Braves will be in great shape.

The Braves had pitching as the main reason when they finally starting winning back in the 1990s, and they are trying that same philosophy now. It’s the most talented group they’ve had in a long time, and if the Braves get back on track, you can likely thank the young talent on the mound.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News, Sports

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