We all know that Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz, and our newest addition Cole Hamels (who we hope recovers from his shoulder injury) are in the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation, but who’s going to pitch every fith day?
With Spring Training officially underway, I thought I’d share my thoughts/predictions of the Braves’ starting rotation. The two main contenders for the spot in the rotation are Sean Newcomb and Felix Hernández.
With Cole Hamels hurt, will that give Hernández more of a chance to pitch in the 2020 season? Well, if you remember, Felix Hernández was a non-roster invitee for the Braves heading into Spring Training, but he will try to prove himself worthy to pitch in the 2020 season. I believe that Hamels will be healthy by the time the season starts, but even if he isn’t I don’t think that Hernández will be the top choice to take his place.
How about another name to throw into the running? Kyle Wright. I think that the Braves would give Kyle Wright a chance to try to pitch in the starting rotation if Cole Hamels isn’t healthy by the time the season starts. Wright did start four games, but he he lost three of them and didn’t complete five innings in the other.
So we are still left with the 5th spot in the rotation: Newcomb or Hernández?
One of the main questions that the Braves rotation is facing is who will pitch every fifth day? While it very well could be Felix Hernández who was fantastic in his Cy Young award season, I just don’t thing that the 33, soon to be 34, year old six-time All-Star will have the same stuff he had at his prime. I predict it Sean Newcomb will be our pitcher every fifth day.
While Newcomb was used mostly as a relief pitcher in 2019, he did make four starts and had an overall ERA of 3.16 in 2019 as a starter. As a reliever, Newcomb produced a 25.6 strikeout rate and a 8.5 percent walk rate with a 3.04 ERA over 531/2 innings in 2019. In 2018, he was used as a starter and he produced a 3.90 ERA and a 12-9 recored in 30 games started, and he had 160 strike outs.
With just 37 days till the start of the regular season and Spring Training games staring this Saturday, I believe the Braves will come to a decision soon on the finalization of the rotation. My 2020 starting rotation predictions:
Mike Soroka , Max Fried, Cole Hamels, Sean Newcomb, and finally Mike Foltynewicz.