BS REPORT: MARCH 7TH

One of the questions coming into spring training for the Braves was their starting rotation, what’s going to happen at the bottom of that rotation? When spring began, we assumed and believed the rotation was going to be Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Gausman, Julio Teheran, and Sean Newcomb.

Well, Foltynewicz has been slowed by a little bit of an elbow issue, and Gausman has been slowed by a little bit of a shoulder issue. So even here in the first week of March, there’s still questions about whether or not, now that we are right around three weeks before the start of the regular season, whether Foltynewicz and Gausman will be ready to start the season at least. They may be ready sometime in early April, but they may not be ready to start the season.

What happens if that in fact is the case, what do the Braves do? Well, Sean Newcomb is having a very good spring training so far, he’s been very impressive. Had a good performance on Sunday here at Disney. That’s a good sign. Julio Teheran looks better, they say. I saw him the other day, and I thought he looked like the same Julio Teheran, but they say they’ve made some progress doing some things with his delivery and that he looks a little bit better, so we’ll see about that.

But keep an eye on Kyle Wright. He pitched a couple of innings, three innings, against the Yankees on Tuesday and looked really, really good. This was the Braves first round pick out of Vanderbilt a couple of years ago, fifth overall pick in the draft, and he looked outstanding. And I’ll tell you, most people assumed that he would be going back to AAA to start the season, that he may need a little bit more innings before he’s ready to go, but if he continues to pitch like he has so far in his first two games at spring training, Kyle Wright’s probably going to start the year in the rotation.

I don’t know if he’ll stick in the rotation, it may depend on whether or not Foltynewicz and Gausman come back, or how things play out, but we may see some fluidity to that fifth spot in that rotation for the Braves. We may see Max Fried, we may see Toukie Toussaint, we Kyle Wright. And it may depend on how many of them get an opportunity early on, especially if Foltynewicz and Gausman have some issues and have to slow their schedule down a bit and not pitch early in the season. So we’ll see about that.

Max Fried looked good. He had to come out of the game the other day when he cut his finger, so he needs to make sure that doesn’t happen or that that nasty blister that he continues to have won’t be an issue moving forward. Toukie Toussaint’s looked good so far.

The Braves are really taking this spring to let these kids show them what they have, and some of them are closer than others. But again, like we said with Kyle Wright, we thought he was a little bit down the list and maybe destined for AAA and need more time, and now with what he’s done so far, he is showing that he needs to be up on that list a little bit higher, and Kyle Wright may be ready to stick in this rotation for good. Who knows? He may never come out of it if he gets an opportunity and does well, and pitches well for the Braves early in the season.

There’s a lot of depth there. Even with the two injuries to Foltynewicz and Gausman, there’s a lot of depth. There’s some questions now, it’s not like it’s Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, and Denny Neagel in that rotation, but there are still a lot of pitchers that should be able to make starts for the Braves this year. These are good young pitchers. Max Fried, Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, these are kids that are really, really good. Luiz Gohara was in that conversation, but he’s been slowed down by an injury a little bit this year.

It’s just a little bit of uncertainty compared to having a rotation that’s set in stone going into the season, which is not always a good feeling for a team that is coming off a 90 win, division-winning season.

There may be a little bit of flexibility, if you will, with the rotation, but I think it’s going to be okay. I don’t think that’s the problem. I think the top of the bullpen remains the problem, and of course we’ll see if they address that between now and the beginning of the season. But the rotation’s got plenty of options, we just have to see who can start the year healthy, who may have to go on the disabled list for a little while, or if there are any other serious issues, and who can get out there and pitch.

But their talent is there. Kyle Wright showed us that on Tuesday in Tampa when he pitched against the Yankees and did very well against their starters. He’s just one of the many that are going to be up and ready to contribute this year for the Braves in 2019.

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