The Atlanta Braves are headed into the off-season focused on fixing a disappointing 2016 rotation. How many starters should the team target?
The Atlanta Braves had a great finish to what was a very disappointing season, where they barely escaped losing one hundred games. The Braves added Matt Kemp and the offense clicked. They piled up runs in the last two months of the season and played wonderfully as an offensive unit.
The problem for the Braves was one that is unusual for a Braves team to have. They could not pitch in 2016. They struggled to put starters on the mound that would last past the 5th inning the young starters didn’t take a step forward and the Braves realized if they want to compete in the new stadium they were going to have to acquire more pitching.
After signing a manager the team’s focus will shift to fixing their rotation. That will be the focus and priority of this winter. If the Braves can fix their starting rotation and their offense continues to overachieve the team could legitimately become a postseason contender again in the near future.
The question for the Braves will be how many starters do they need to add? Who is capable of filling a rotation spot that is already on the roster? Julio Teheran is the only clear starter on the staff.
Teheran has been an under rated player for quite some time. His numbers do not always relate how good of a pitcher he is especially considering the lack of run support he has often received the last two seasons.
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Julio Teheran is the only for sure lock in the 2017 rotation. Mike Foltynewicz should receive a spot as well but should be backed up due to his tendency to get hurt. He took a step forward this year and looked like a legitimate starter down the stretch. He is only a year removed from major surgery and is just now getting back to full strength he should be given a chance in this year’s rotation.
That leaves three spots still open with no clear choices left to fill them. Josh Collmenter, Matt Wisler, and Aaron Blair will all be looking to claim a starting role assuming they are all kept with the team in 2017. Out of the three it is safe to assume they will claim at least one rotation spot.
The Braves are going to need to acquire an ace and a quality veteran starter if they hope to take the next step. They need another pitcher to slot ahead of or after Teheran who can help keep the team in games and take some of the pressure of Teheran.
A veteran arm would be a great addition as well for the Braves. They need a veteran starter who can help the young pitchers while still helping the team win now. Rich Hill could be a possible veteran arm that the Braves target though he does have his fair share of injury concerns.
Targeting an ace may be more probable then most fans think. Prospects are the equivalent of trade cash, the Braves boast one of the best farm systems in the league. It is time for them to put it to use and help the big league roster win now by targeting an ace.
If the Braves can add two quality pitchers who can keep them in games they will take the next step as a team and get back in the postseason race. If not, it could be another very long season for Braves fans.