The Atlanta Braves biggest battle during the spring will be for the fifth spot in the Braves rotation. While Sean Newcomb is the early favorite, veteran Felix Hernandez certainly offers a lot of potential.
The Atlanta Braves signing Felix Hernandez was one of their more underrated moves this off-season. The veteran starter may not have been anything close to his dominant self the last few seasons, however, there is always the chance he recaptures that magic.
Sean Newcomb has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter but has only ever put it together out of the bullpen. Newcomb is going to make this team regardless the question is will it be in the bullpen or the rotation?
Felix has had two terrible seasons but his career ERA still sits at 3.42 and he isn’t but two years removed from a good season and three seasons removed from a great season. He is still only thirty-three (relatively young for a pitcher) and there is a chance he recaptures his form.
It is this chance that makes him the more attractive fifth starter if he is anything close to productive in spring training.
Putting Felix in the rotation for at least two or three turns doesn’t hurt the Braves at all. It makes a great bullpen even stronger with Newcomb and gives them a chance to find a diamond in the rough. If Hernandez doesn’t pan out after his first few starts Newcomb can easily stretch out and rejoin the rotation a month into the season.
Sean could give the bullpen another depth piece on a bullpen that on paper will be one of the best in the League.
Both players certainly are intriguing options for the fifth spot in the rotation and should help make Spring Training interesting. More to come as the Braves season draws closer.