WalkOff Talk: The Starting Rotation

WalkOff Talk: The Starting Rotation

In the year of our Lord 2018, the Atlanta Braves are just out of first place in the NL East. Despite an offseason that pointed mostly to 2019 as the most likely year for the Braves to contend, the guys who actually play the games didn’t get the memo. Offensively, Freddie Freeman has been his typical MVP self. Ozzie Albies is on something like a 50 HR pace. Nick Markakis thinks it’s 2010 and Ronald Acuna Jr has held his own as 20 years old at baseball’s highest level. The bullpen, while starting a little shaky, has rounded into form of late – last night notwithstanding. With surprise seasons from Dan Winkler and Shane Carle and strong seasons from A.J. Minter and Arodys Vizcaino, you can start to see the makings of a playoff relief core.

But what we’re talking about today is the starting rotation. Atlanta’s starters are 10th in all of baseball in ERA and 13th in FIP according to Fangraphs and have done with a combination of experience and young talent. The rotation has been lead by the growth of Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz but has also seen contributions from Mike Soroka, Brandon McCarthy, Julio Teheran, Anibal Sanchez, Luiz Gohara and Matt Wisler. And with young players like Kolby Allard, Max Fried, and Kyle Wright not far away, the Braves have some options for both this year and years to come.

And those options are what we’re talking about today. Who should be in the rotation now? Who shouldn’t be in it? Should they consider a 6-man rotation or potentially trading away some guys to fill other holes? We’re going to go over all of it.

If you’re unfamiliar with how our WalkOff Talks go, we pick a general topic, like the rotation, and let all the members of our blog give their thoughts on the different aspects of that topic. It used to be Tommy Poe, Ryan Cothran and myself, but since our last WOT, we’ve added a new member. Brittni Swanson has joined the blog so for this one, we’ll have four different opinions throughout this piece. Hope you guys enjoy.

So with all that out of the way, let’s jump in.

Sean Newcomb | Jeff Morris @Jeff MorrisAB
With things in-flux a bit, what do you think is the current rotation? Who do you think should be in it?

Ryan:  In my mind, the current rotation is Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Brandon McCarthy, and Luiz Gohara. Yes, Gohara is on bereavement leave and he might miss 1 start while gone but he’s likely inserted directly back in after returning. If we’re to believe FIP and/or xFIP as indicators of future production, then 4/5 of our rotation will regress (Teheran, Folty, Newk, Gohara) while only 1 will improve (McCarthy). For me, I can likely agree with most of that assessment with the exception being Teheran whose ERA has given FIP and xFIP the middle finger every year. Even with some regression, Newk and Folty will be better than their 2017 versions and will round out a good rotation. If Braves stay internal, I think there’s got to be room made for Soroka in some fashion when he’s ready to return from the DL. Of the 5 above, I’d first shop McCarthy but would be willing to listen on offers for Teheran in a “need for a need” trade.

Tommy: To piggy-back on what Ryan said, I don’t feel much can be done with the rotation without a move or, and hopefully this doesn’t happen, an injury opens a spot. When Mike Soroka returns and – with any luck – that will be soon, he obviously slots into a spot in the rotation Ryan discussed. Likely, that would be for Gohara. I really like Gohara and remain convinced he can be a big player as a starter, but I am just not convinced that time is now. It’s charitable to call his changeup a work-in-progress. It’s just not a good pitch – yet. I see no reason Gohara can’t get there, but if Soroka was healthy, Gohara’s headed to the pen or Gwinnett to start.

There are other options, sure. I’m not as big of a believer in Kolby Allard as others. I know his ERA is microscopic, but the BABIP and LOB% are prime for regression. As hard as it might be to believe this, I truly believe Matt Wisler has earned next-guy-in status. Max Fried may get there, though. All of these guys are still behind Gohara, though.

But as I look at the options, I see no reason to go in a different direction than Ryan brought up. If Soroka is healthy, slot him in over Gohara. All of this is why I am a firm believer in the Braves making a move with the rotation.

Brittni: In my opinion, I think the rotation is Teheran, Folty, McCarthy, Newk, and Soroka. Gohara is good but quite frankly I don’t think he is good enough for a starting position; I like him better as a reliever. Plus, if he continues in the starting rotation, I don’t think he will be there for long. He would likely be sent back down to Gwinnett and a more consistent starter brought up or just stick to a four-man rotation. The Braves have plenty of good pitching in the minors, so if someone is struggling in the majors, job security is not a guaranteed thing as it has been in years past. I agree with Ryan in that McCarthy should be traded away. His last few starts have been ok, but not extraordinary. Of the guys who have started for the Braves this year, Newk is by far the best and I consider him to be the Braves ace right now.

Stephen: The two wild cards, in my opinion, are Julio Teheran and Brandon McCarthy. I say this because Atlanta’s money problems have been well documented in 2018 and moving either one of these guys could free up some much-needed cash. It’s also not clear that either one of these guys is among Atlanta’s 3 best starters. Newcomb and Foltynewicz have shown the most growth this year, and while I can make a case McCarthy is next, I can also make a case that Soroka is next in line. And while I’m with Tommy a little bit on Allard being due for some regression, I’m not sure he or Gohara or Fried couldn’t do better, or at least as good as Teheran the rest of the season. But as we stand here today, I agree with the blog. When Soroka comes back, Gohara goes to the pen and the rotation becomes Newcomb, Folty, McCarthy Teheran, Soroka.

Should the Braves explore a 6-man rotation?

Tommy: I used to think of the 6-man rotation was a ridiculous fad or buy into the old “if you have two quarterbacks, it’s because you don’t have one” thinking. But I will say that I’m coming around on this one. However, here’s my problem: to make this work, you need to get innings out of your rotation. A lot of them. And while people complain relentlessly about the Atlanta starters not going deep enough, they are right at the league average in innings per start and pitches per start. Do we really expect even more out of them?

And honestly, what are the Braves going to a six-man rotation for? Allard? Gohara? Anibal Sanchez? Matt Wisler? The rotation is decent, but not so good that making the move really makes a lot of sense in my opinion. Yes, you give your younger starters more rest and potentially limit their innings. But at what cost? Do you make the team less effective to use a sixth starter rather than go with your best five? Give me five really good starters and then ask me if the Braves should add a sixth.

Brittni: I see the benefit of having a six-man rotation: more rest before each start, more opportunities for the pitchers in the minors and lessening the likelihood of injury. I really like the idea of more rest for the pitchers and I am sure they do too but at the same time, it also limits the number of starts each pitcher has, which means each start is worth a lot more. To be honest I think the only reason that a team should ever go to a six-man rotation is if they have five phenomenal arms that are all consistently producing successful outings and if they have one more guy waiting in the wings in the minors. Otherwise what would really be the need?

The Braves started the season with a 4-man rotation and that seemed to work out just fine for a while, would having a six-man rotation be any different from a four or a five one for the Braves? I don’t think so and I think this goes back to what Tommy said about the starting pitching being decent. As long as you have decent pitching, I don’t really see the need other than the obvious health benefits for the pitchers. If the Braves decided to go to a six-man rotation just for the heck of it or to just give more guys opportunities, I think you bring up Kolby Allard or stick with Anibal Sanchez now that he’s off the DL.

Ryan: I’m no baseball traditionalist (in the roster sense) so I could be down for a lot of things. I mean, I could be down for a 4-man bench if 3/4 of that bench wasn’t the backup catcher and 2 guys that can’t hit. Sorry, had to get that shot in there.  So yes, I could get down with a 6-man rotation, 4 of which being Luiz Gohara, Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, and Sean Newcomb. However, I don’t even want to see Anibal Sanchez in a 5-man rotation, so my answer would be no for him. But if this 6-man idea is purely for limiting innings and rest, there’s a way to do this and keep Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler out of the bullpen (we’ll use numbers for this exercise, not people):

  • 1st time through the rotation, starters 1,2,3,4,5 pitch & 6 is in the bullpen.
  • 2nd time, 1 is removed sent to the bullpen, 6 is inserted: 6,2,3,4,5.
  • 3rd time, 2 is removed sent to the bullpen, 1 is inserted back in, 6,1,3,4,5.
  • pattern continues…

The pitcher inserted back into the rotation’s spot could be shuffled based on off days or last appearance out of the bullpen (and this also helps with Tommy’s problem: If a SP craps the bed, the SP removed from the rotation could throw 3+ innings on that day). Speaking of off days, that’s something else to consider when discussing a 6-man rotation as there are more off days this year which means some guys would be getting not 1 but 2 extra days of rest should a straight 6-man rotation be put in place and I’m not sure how that would affect the veterans as they’re likely used to routine at this time. Lots to consider…but if it’s considered, I like the idea above.

Stephen: 6-man rotations in baseball have basically gone extent and there’s one main reason for that. A 6-man rotation takes starts away from your best SP and gives them to your 6th best SP. The easy example here is if your best starter is Max Scherzer and your 6th best starter is AJ Cole then, of course, you don’t want a system in place that takes away starts from Scherzer to give to a lesser pitcher. You want your ace out there more, not less.

But for Atlanta, they are uniquely set up to try it. For one, they don’t have an ace. They don’t have a Max Scherzer or Corey Kluber they have to worry about stealing starts from. Their best starter is Sean Newcomb. Newcomb is very good, young pitching prospect but he’s not one you feel you have to hurry out their every 5 days. In fact, Atlanta has set up a system this year where they want him getting extra rest. They’ve taken every chance they’ve gotten this year to give him more than the standard 4 days rest and he’s thrived. A 6-man rotation would help this.

The other reason they might be set up to try it is eventually, this rotation is going to feature some combination of Newcomb, Soroka, Gohara, Fried, and Allard. That’s a lot of young arms in one rotation and limiting workloads will be the name of the game. The Braves, like the Dodgers last year, have used the DL to accomplish this to some degree as Soroka is recovering from an “injury.” A 6-man rotation just helps keep everyone fresh while limiting the number of innings for all their young arms. You do lose a guy out of the bullpen as the others have stated and it would put more pressure on the guys to go deeper in games. But it’s an interesting way to get more rest for your young pitchers while also giving more of them a chance at a major league rotation.

Touki Toussaint, Max Fried, and Mike Soroka | Max Fried @maxfried32
Do they need to add a front-line starter or wait and see what all these kids can do?

Stephen: I’ll start this one. The short answer here is it depends. The biggest variable is the team’s performance. If they’re still in first place come trade season, then I think you absolutely explore adding an elite starter. Post-season baseball is so much about big-time starting pitching and if you’re making a serious run at October, you have to explore it. Maybe Chris Archer is available and pitching a bit better. Maybe Seattle falls on hard times and listens on James Paxton. Unlikely, but you have to explore it. If you fall on hard times yourself, then you can probably afford to just see what your guys can do.

The other big variable is are there any signs any of your own prospects are becoming that ace? This one is tough because of the current timeline. I think, in time, a couple of these guys can be elite starters. But can you count on that in a division race this year? I don’t know but I lean towards no. I think you want to be very careful how many 20 or 21-year-old rookies you want to be counting on in September, and if you’re lucky, October. If you’re in a position to win the division and there are options out there, use some of that prospect currency to go chase a pennant.

Tommy: I would definitely like to add a frontline starter to the mix. The Braves starting staff has done remarkably well despite the issues with the bottom of the staff and its youth. How long can that be expected? For the Braves to become bigger contenders, they need more success from their starting rotation. Right now, they simply aren’t getting it.

You can’t settle in baseball. You can’t assume that things will continue to go well and you’ll compete forever. Look at the Mets, who thought they had the next great pitching staff. You just never know what will happen and when you are this close to being a playoff team, you make the run. No, I’m not saying you trade Mike Soroka, but if you can get a guy like Paxton in a deal headlined by Kolby Allard, you really need to consider it. This team could use an ace-caliber starter to slot in front of Sean Newcomb. It would go a long way to improving their chances to make some real noise this October.

Brittni: At the beginning of this season, I was on board with having a big name, veteran pitcher come in, and even still it would be nice to have a guy like that, but after seeing what the starting lineup has done, despite so many setbacks, I think they could go far. I totally agree that if the Brave end up going to the playoffs that they need someone with a little more experience to back up Newk. The last thing the Braves want is for their guys to choke, but honestly, I am really interested to see where these guys go. Are they perfect? No, by no means, but something is working no matter how dysfunctional it may be. There is no perfect rotation, but I wanna have faith in these young pitchers that are emerging. Bring up Allard and between Soroka, Allard, and Newcomb I think there is real potential for one of those to be the guy the Braves rely on. Newcomb already sort of assumes that role, so maybe he could go the distance. I wouldn’t mind someone great coming in to help, but I have faith in the farm, even if they don’t make it to the playoff this year.

Ryan: The short answer for me is that it all depends on who it comes at the expense of and the price. In my opinion, the Braves really cannot trade from their depth of “real” prospects at this time but have many that likely don’t have spots on the team and I’d no doubt be willing to do a quantity for quality trade to acquire a front-line starter. Also, it’s my opinion that the next great starting rotation is headed by Soroka, Gohara, Newk, Folty, etc., and not by Teheran. If Braves could flip Teheran for some prospects and use those prospects plus a few already in the system to grab an anchor, sign me up yesterday. Guys like Wisler, Blair, Sims, Ruiz, and Dustin Peterson likely have no long-term home for the Braves, but putting some of them in a trade with 1 elite prospect would, in my opinion, be a great use of resources.

14 Comments

In the approximate 8th millionth year that it’s taken humans to fully evolve from our primate ancestors in Africa….The Braves are playing A CRUCIAL 4 GAME SERIES against The Washington Nationals. The Nationals have been playing VERY WELL of late (getting Rondon back has been ESSENTIAL for their lineup). Their Starting 5 has been DOMINANT.

While The Braves ‘lucked out’ by missing out on Matt Scherzer during this series….The Nationals have 4 other starters who can easily win games (especially given how our bats has been ‘waiting’ until LATE in games to score). I feel that against ‘the better teams’ with good bullpens….The Braves are going to have to WAKE UP THE BATS and start scoring early…or we’re going to struggle to win games!

Of more concern to me..is Soroka and Gohara NOT getting VALUABLE STARTS right now. While it’s been nice to see The Braves play competitive baseball in 2018….I’ll maintain all along that the goal of The 2018 Season…is to give the likes of Gohara, Soroka, Albies, Acuna, Minter (and eventually Allard and possibly Kyle Wright)…..AS MUCH PLAYING TIME AS POSSIBLE in an Atlanta Braves uniform! If The Braves are going to be SERIOUS PLAYERS in 2019 (Washington is going to not only win The Division in 2018…but they are going to RUN AWAY WITH IT! Dont forget, they will be SERIOUS PLAYERS at The July Trade Deadline. They will be the ones SACRIFICING THEIR FUTURE in an attempt to win in 2018. The Braves..would be FOOLISH to sacrifice valuable prospects….just to chase A ONE GAME PLAY-IN GAME that is The Wild Card Game)….we need to give our best young players valuable playing experience in 2018. We lack a legit, middle of the order, power hitter from the right side of the plate (a big reason why our offense is struggling to score runs early in the game).

While I’ll be rooting for The Braves to win all 4 games against Washington…I have an ‘eerie feeling’ that Washington is primed to ‘put their foot on the acceleration pedal’ when it comes to their attempts to ‘run away with the division’ (I could easily see them winning 3 of 4..or even sweeping The Braves this series…ESPECIALLY if our bats dont wake up/ESPECIALLY if our starters continue to need 100 pitches to make it to the 5th inning. Of the 5 times a Braves starting pitcher has made it through 7 innings…3 have been against The Mets, all by Julio Teheran! We’ve got to do A MUCH BETTER JOB than that).

I would ONLY be open to seeing The Braves go after a ‘frontline starter’….when The Braves have established who their Starting 5 is going to be long term! It’s TOO EARLY to go after an ace (primarily because the price will be EXORBITANT!). This team is not ‘an ace away’ from being ‘legit World Series contenders! Until the rest of the rotation settles in….I’d hold off on acquiring an ace! I DO NOT want to see The Braves spend $40 mil a year to sign a 31 year old Clayton Kershaw…NOR give up 5 prized prospects to trade for ‘a far from an ace’ Chris Archer…NOR for ‘an ACL waiting to happen Michael Fullmer!

I’d trade McCarthy AND Teheran by The July Trade Deadline..and go with a rotation of Folty, Newcomb, Soroka, Gohara and Allard the last 2 months of the season. We ARE NOT legit World Series Contenders in 2018. Once we get Acuna back (and we call up Austin Riley after The ASB)…let’s see how THE KIDS do when it comes to getting valuable playing experience!

I know, many are DEADSET against seeing Teheran traded. However, is Teheran A LEGIT long term asset in The Braves Rotation? Is Teheran someone you want to see starting games in The Playoffs for The Braves? If your answer is NO…then why not support seeing Braves Management trade Teheran by The July Trade Deadline..along with McCarthy? Time to get THE DEADWOOD out of The Rotation..and make way for THE YOUNG HIGH UPSIDE pitchers. Kolby Allard is just about ready…Gohara needs to be starting games for The Braves (I’m not worried about his ‘change up’ right now. His other stuff is TOO GOOD…he’ll figure it out). Soroka will compete with Newcomb to be our future #2.

However, there will be some ‘growing pains’ when it comes to going with Soroka, Gohara and Allard this year. I’d rather see ‘the growing pains’ worked through in 2018…than in 2019! Open up spots for all three in 2018…and see what happens!

Paul, you can’t trade both of Tehran and McCarthy in the middle of a wild card race- you just can’t. That’s a rebuild move. And what type of message does that send to both the team, and your fan-base?…

“Thanks for playing hard, guys; and to all the fans who’ve turned out this year to support the team. We’re going to go ahead and trade all of our veteran pitching though, and focus on 2019, because we wouldn’t have had a shot anyway. Keep buying those tickets, though!”

Even if the Braves weren’t where they are, you probably wouldn’t trade both of the veteran anchors. That’s a lot of innings to ask the young SP to eat.

Now in the right trade, you could move one, open a rotation spot, and free up some cash for upgrades in other areas. And I’m honestly more in favor of trading Tehran than McCarthy, because he’d probably bring back a useful ML piece, and I think he needs a change of scenery. Both though?! O.o Nooo…

King….I NEVER stated that The Braves ‘would’ trade both Teheran and McCarthy at The July Trade Deadline (I DO NOT think that our GM, AA, has THE BALLS to do it…given what you stated about ‘the fan base’ getting all ‘butt-hurt’ about it). I stated that The Braves SHOULD trade both of them by The July Trade Deadline.

A smart GM has to be REALISTIC/HONEST with their fan base (say what you want about Coppy, but his regular updates were refreshingly honest). This team IS NOT ready to compete for a championship in 2018. Giving the young guys who are OUR FUTURE essential playing time in 2018….is crucial for our future!

King….think about it….in 2019 and 2020, who do you think would give The Braves a better chance to win playoff games: Gohara and Allard..OR….Teheran and McCarthy?

I’m a Braves fan…FOR THE LONG HAUL! This collection of prospects that The Braves have….DO NOT come along very often! These guys are OUR FUTURE! Playing them/figuring out which ones to keep and which ones to trade…will give our GM all the info he needs when it comes to making the right decisions regarding our future.

Teheran and McCarthy ARE NOT pieces who will help The Braves win ANY playoff series! Both nibble too much..and are susceptible to getting HIT HARD when they have to throw strikes!

I feel that Gohara and Allard can come close to throwing the number of innings that Teheran and McCarthy average out throwing per start. Gohara has BETTER STUFF than either Teheran and McCarthy…and goes after hitters. Allard locates better/doesnt waste nearly the number of pitches that Teheran and McCarthy do (allowing Allard to routinely pitch deep in games).

Remember…our offense has one glaring weakness: Right handed power in the middle of the lineup! Unless AA is willing to SACRIFICE our future by going after right handed power bat by The July Trade Deadline (which I would be DEAD SET against)…I’d rather see Austin Riley called up and inserted into The Cleanup Spot (in between Freeman and Markakis). I know, ‘the freaking book’ says that rookies ‘cannot’ handle the immediate pressure (and instead should be inserted in the 7th or 8th hole when they first get called up). However, I feel that Riley WOULD NOT be under ‘immense’ pressure….because 1. he’s hit in the upper part of the batting order his whole MILB career…2. He’d be surrounded by two good hitters in Freeman and Markakis (meaning that those 2 can more than pick up any slack if Riley doesnt come through).

The 2nd half of the season…should be giving the young players crucial playing time/preparing them for The 2019 Season. I feel that Ozzie Albies’ 2 month audition at the end of 2017…played a huge role in his breakout in 2018! Why not give Riley, Gohara, Allard…and even Kyle Wright….their own auditions?

Let Washington (and even The Phillies)….SACRIFICE their futures at The July Trade Deadline? AA just needs to be strong and explain to the fan base that the future will be HELLA BRIGHT IF The Braves ‘stay the course’ and go with the prospects in 2018.

King..it isnt like 2018 was ‘promised’ to be a contending year! Getting off to the start that we did….DOES NOT mean that this Braves team does not have obvious holes (1. right handed power…2. a current TOR starting pitcher…3. an elite closer). Those are needs that CANNOT all be addressed at The July Trade Deadline…UNLESS AA foolishly decides to say ‘screw it’ when it comes to The Braves long term success.

The real improvements…will be made this offseason..via The 2018 Free Agent Offseason (when we will not have to give up ANY of our prospects…only money). The Braves are paying OVER $40 mil in DEAD Payroll Dollars..to players who are not even on the team!

No, I got that you said “you’d” trade both McCarthy and Tehran, Paul. That’s not a move that’d only alienate the fans, though. I’m pretty sure a lot of guys on the team wouldn’t love it, either. And if you think that stuff doesn’t matter to a team, check out some of Dallas Keuchel’s comments after the Astros didn’t make a move last season. Players look for those reinforcements, which I guess kinda validates that the front office sees the team is doing a good job.

I struggle to see how you can feel like Gohara and Allard could toss about the same number of innings as Tehran and McCarthy, though. Allard’s never thrown a big league pitch; and Gohara’s been hurt, and he has the real concerns with his family issues. And while Tehran and McCarthy might not be spectacular, but they’re mostly solid.

How about a 4 day rotation with 8 starters. Piggyback and flip starters each time through. 4 innings each with 1 inning for pen. A right hander paired with a lefty
Folty with Allard. Newk with Teheran. Soroka with Gohara. Fried with McCarthy. No 3rd time through order. That would limit innings for starters and the pen. Viz,Wink,Minter and Freeman matched up for the 9th. Has it ever been tried? Something to think about.

I don’t believe it’s ever been tried. Definitely, something to think about. The only problem I could see is similar to the idea I had of playing your best defensive outfielder to the side the hitter predominantly hits the ball to (i.e. playing Acuna Jr. in RF with a pull-heavy LHH and switching him to LF for the next hitter, a pull-heavy RHH). Getting the players to buy into it. That’s the hard part. Telling a guy like Teheran or McCarthy that they be a starter and prepare for the game as a starter and next time, they’ll come out of the pen. But I am intrigued. I am working on a different example – getting three workhorse power pitchers and building a bullpen out of former starters with two plus pitches. Work the starters as normal and go bullpenning for the remainder of starts. The great thing about these ideas is that teams are actually open to trying new things rather than just go with a traditional five-man rotation.

Great article, lady and gentlemen of the blog!

As things stand today, I agree with most of you that the rotation moving forward should be Folty, Newcomb, Tehran, McCarthy and Sororka. And to echo what Tommy said, while I like Gohara, and feel/hope he’ll eventually be a ML starter- this isn’t the time for him. He’s got too many strides to make, and with all of the personal things he has going on, it just seems more beneficial to all involved to allow him to grow as a RP for the duration of this season. It’s not as if he’s 26, and it’s a move that has to be set in stone.

Now the six man rotation thing, I’m firmly against. I’ll admit, too- I am a baseball traditionalist. I believe you take your five best horses, and you let them run with it. I hate all of this starting RP, and six man rotation business going on in the game today. And it’s not as if the Braves have a need to make that move, because they didn’t bring over Ohtani; and there’s no young SP at the age where they need to be in the majors showing.

The question of if the Braves should trade for a SP is an interesting one, though. And I think Ryan touched on a key point, who does it come at the expense of, and what price? I’m not really in favor of trading for a SP, unless it was one of six guys (Sale, Verlander, Syndergaard, Kershaw, Scherzer, Bumgarner) who I think everyone would agree completely change the dynamic of a team. None of those guys are likely to be traded, however- and I feel like the asks on the Archers and Stromans of the world might be based more on what than were, and not are currently producing. Do any of you see a buy low candidate out there? I see Tommy mentioned Paxton, at the right price… it’s just tough to see a SP available who’d be a difference maker.

If your main concern is that your ace (or two aces) or whatever gets his max number of starts, why not use a skewed rotation? Say 6 pitchers except that the “ace” works on regular 4 days rest. Something like 1,2,3,4,5,1,6,2,3,4,1,5,6,2,3,1 – all your young pitchers (2-6) work on 5-6 days rest and the ace works on 4. This translates well to 2 aces, too – 1,2,3,4,5,1,2,6,3,4,1,2,5,6,3,1,2,4,5,1,2,6,3,4,1. 2 aces working on four days rest and 3-6 working on 5-7 days. That leaves the option for whoever is on 7 days to act as long man after 3 days rest. Extra rest will be good for the youngest guys and distinctly limit their innings.

great article. i personally dont believe that a six man rotation would be beneficial to the team but i do believe a rotational back end of the rotation might be. if we were able to unload mccarthy my rotation would be folty/ newcomb/ soroka/ teheran/ and then a rotation of gohara and allard. with one getting a few starts at a time and the other being a long option in the pen. just to get them in the routine of facing big league batters, hone their skills while not being overwhelmed, and help them gain confidence. as far as a trade when it comes to contending, i wouldnt be mad about it unless it were to cost us some prized prospects. a top of the rotation arm would cost us too much talent. but a steady arm. tyson ross, chad bettis, or even a jake junis. wouldnt cost much at all but would still make the rotation a bit more well rounded and add some consistency. nothing high profile. aa likes to bargain shop and they would be right up his alley. maybe a moylan, herbert, jeremy walker would get it done, idk. very low profile move that i think could have a more positive effect than expected. im sure that the astros didnt expect charlie morton to become what he has. and by no means am i saying thats what these guys will be. but i think the rest of the pitching staff is pretty solid. and when you surround a consistent arm around a solid, confident staff it can do wonders. but hey, what do i know?

The Braves have MORE THAN ENOUGH quality, potentially high upside arms in their system…to DEVELOP a 5 man rotation…OVER TIME! That means BEING PATIENT for a little while longer.

By 2020-2021..I feel that The Braves will have the youngest/cheapest/potentially BEST Rotation in MLB. However, if our GM decides to make a number of ‘Noah Synderguard/Travis d’Nuard for RA Dickey’ type trades this summer…..The Braves will find themselves undergoing another rebuilding effort come 2022-2023.

Quality Starting Pitching is HELLA EXPENSIVE/HELLA VIOLITLE on The Free Agent Market. Usually, those available are on THE WRONG SIDE of 30 (Greg Maddux was only 26 when The Braves signed him during The 1992 Free Agent Offseason. I DOUBT that we’ll see anyone NEAR his talent become a Free Agent BEFORE he’s past 30. Kershaw will be 31 when The 2019 Season starts….and he’s had a history of injuries lately).

The Braves should STAY THE COURSE and develop our Starting 5 FIRST! If there are any ‘leftovers’ that other teams find desirable…then perhaps a package that can be ‘sweetened’ can be offered by The Braves IF the right YOUNG/COST CONTROLLED/ACE becomes available via trade. However I dont see that scenario being realistic for The Braves before 2020.

I will continue to disagree. I’m not asking the Braves to make a “number” of moves, but not making one to shore up the rotation could be a big mistake. You don’t know how 2019-2022 will work out. Sure, the Braves seem like they will be a top-tier team for years to come, but they can make some noise now. Not saying they should destroy everything to compete now, but not making a few smart trades would be foolish.

Patrick Corbin. not on wrong side of 30. excellent upcoming free agent option. let the young guys prove themselves. push him out of the rotation. give them competition. you look at the astros rotation. they compete with each other. try to outpitch each others performance. i think he would be a great offseason pickup if he has any interest in atlanta. make your guys compete for that ace position and fill out the rotation with the best guys. there is absolutely no problem with adding a proven talent to push your guys harder. soroka has already hit the dl. gohara has hit the dl. newcomb needs extra day off to pitch his best. wright is still working on his pitches and not doing so hot. do these guys have top of the rotation talent. without a doubt. will they be ready 2019 for contention. maybe, maybe not. a guy like corbin.. yes. the next pitching wave will be at the end of 2019 at the earliest and maybe even start of 2020. proven talent can put us in contention while these guys progress

Corbin is a nice target, but not for a deadline deal. I don’t think AZ will sell anyway. He’d be a nice FA signing over the winter, though. I can’t see a starter trade for someone with no control. If we’re going to “trade” for a starter, he has to come with control (a la Sale). If we trade for players where we expect to have long term coverage in future years then a deadline rental deal makes sense. We just have to see going forward what AA can or is willing to accomplish.

We do need to make at least one significant deal, though.

I think the braves can get a starter and trade Tehran-McCarthy-Anibal—Sims-possibly muller type. If Folty and Newk—keep it up. Soroka will continue to develop—we add a pitcher that we all think is better than Tehran and McCarthy—so pitcher x is our 1 and newk is our 2 and Folty as a
3 —-for the post season—-which is an amazing thing to think seriously—could the braves get 6 or 7 good innings from soroka and Gohara acting as a 4—Yes. They could. Could that 4 get us to the World Series? If they are ‘on’ yes. Will they? Does AA have a track record of this type ‘riskey’ ‘Crazy’ —not really. He extends and gets free agents with more risk—imho.

So if he did make a trade that is out of his normal type gm decisions—why would he make the leap?

1 no international free agents—trade Tehran for 4 to 5 international free agents from the dodgers or some team that have tons of lotto type draftees—could happen. McCarthy could get a few low a guys as well with promise.

2 Debt—Tehran started opening day but it’s becoming clearer and clear he is our 4th or 5th best starter—will be by next year. Do the braves want to pay their 5th starter the most? Esp since there will be Tehran types on the market for a lot cheaper? McCarthy who I love and wish him well-but it’s just not working out—if we
Could clear him and that 6
Or so million the braves would save—could be big. I think it works out to every million off the books works out to saving the team 12 million.

3. If pitcher x is gonna be a free agent—wouldn’t being around this young core help sway them to possibly stay with the braves and resign? Yes. It could.

But sadly Tehran and McCarthy aren’t pitching well enough to grab enough trade interest. If the dodgers lose kershaw (back) I could see Tehran and McCarthy somehow land in la—would either fit in NY or Arz or Boston if they have a rash of starters go down? the giants are all in so if bumgardner gets hurt again with queto being out maybe…..I mean what team has the type of park that suits Tehran and McCarthy…..the marlins? I keep coming back to the dodgers who have lots of prospects…..they could
Easily lose some low a guys and not touch their premier guys….I just hope Tehran and McCarthy keep trending upward…..I would love for the braves to get something for them.

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