The Atlanta Braves have fierce competition between Sean Newcomb, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Felix Hernandez for the final spot in the starting rotation. Now, the question is, can Sean Newcomb take that final spot?
The Atlanta Braves have their starting rotation set in stone, almost. Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Mike Foltynewicz, and Cole Hamels, when he returns from his shoulder issue, are the first four starters for the Braves. It’s the fifth spot that is up for grabs. Newcomb, Wright, Wilson, and Hernandez are all competing for the final spot. Between those four pitchers, it feels like it’s Newcomb’s spot to lose.
By trade, Sean Newcomb is a starting pitcher. In his first two full seasons in the major league, Newcomb started 49 games with a record of 16-19. His lowest ERA, as a starter, was in 2018 when he recorded a 3.90 ERA in 164 innings pitched. Last season, Newcomb started the season in the rotation but finished the year in the bullpen. Newcomb made 4 starts last season, three coming in April and one in June before being moved to be a set-up man for the rest of the season.
Sean Newcomb got off to a rocky start in his first start against the Chicago Cubs, failing to get through four innings. In his next start, Newcomb pitched a lot better, going seven innings against the Marlins. In his third start, against the New York Mets, Newcomb got rocked, exiting the game after just 1.1 innings of work. After the Mets start, the Braves moved Newcomb down to Gwinnett to straighten out some kinks. When Newcomb did return to the big league club, the Braves shifted him to the bullpen after the disastrous start to the season. For the rest of the season, Newcomb stayed in the bullpen and did very well.
Now, removed from last season, Sean Newcomb is working his way to get back into the rotation. His competition is two highly-touted prospects and a Cy Young winner from ten years ago. Newcomb, also being a highly-touted prospect at one point, should have enough to beat this group of Wilson, Wright, and Hernandez out. That’s easier said than done.
Spring Training is looking like it’s going to a long, drawn-out contest between the four men. For now, with Hamels sidelined for the foreseeable future, Newcomb will likely be in the starting rotation when Opening Day is here. But when Hamels return, will Newcomb be the guy the Braves want to stick with for that final slot in the rotation? Only time will tell. Get ready for a two-month battle between the four guys.