The Atlanta Braves pitching staff is full of young arms. They currently have a log jam for the fifth rotation spot and some bullpen questions. Hopefully this will clear the picture for some, while laying out a bold prediction or two. This is solely based on the pitchers currently on the roster and does NOT include any free agent or trade predictions. While the Braves are one of the many teams in talks with Craig Kimbrel, he will remain out of the conversation…
The fifth rotation spot is up for grabs and that is big for fantasy baseball, especially dynasty leagues, because we can get our eyes on a young arm against major league bats. The guys battling for the spot are Touki Toussiant, Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Bryse Wilson. Kolby Allard is still on the team, but he will not crack the rotation and will start in AAA. Touki will get first crack at this and depending on what expert we believe, he will either be an ace or is heading to the bullpen. Touki will hold the spot for the season in my opinion and provide a high strike out total, while hopefully improving his control. Touki profiles for me as more a number 2, but he will be a good get in fantasy leagues for guys looking for late round pitching.
First bold prediction is Julio Teheran pitches his way out of the starting rotation. Teheran is a fine pitcher, if the team is rebuilding (tanking). So, guess what? This opens another rotation spot for the other guys. This is where things get dicey for most, because Mike Soroka is coming off a shoulder injury and Kyle Wright was only a September call-up. Honestly, one of these two guys get the job and Mike Soroka will ultimately win the spot for this season.
Max Fried can strike out a lot of batters. In 2017, his K/9 was 7.62 (Full Metal Jacket anyone?) and it increased to 11.76 in 2018. The Braves can and should copycat another NL team with how they use Fried. That team is the Brew Crew and how they use Josh Hader. Now, this does not mean Fried is going to be as good as Hader, but he can slide into that role and provide good counting stats for fantasy baseball.
My second bold prediction is the Bryse Wilson spends some time as the closer. Yes, the rumors are there and they have A.J. Minter and Arodys Vizcaino, but Minter has not proved he can close at the Major League level. Viz has had the opportunity to close out games for the Braves for 2 years now and has not hammered it down, so the trust is not there. Wilson comes in throwing gas and has a good slider. Wilson profiles better as a bullpen arm, so why not just make the move now?
The Braves pitching is going to redonk beyond 2019 and they have a lineup that is ready to win now. The World Series predictions are maybe a year too soon, but they are going to be flat out scary for the next decade. By 2021, the rotation will probably look like Touki, Wright, Soroka, Newcomb and Anderson. Look out baseball the Braves are back.