It would be difficult for anyone to deny that the Pitching for the 2016 Atlanta Braves was atrocious. Outside of Julio Teheran the rotation was in dire straits. The Braves have some possibilities in the farm system, but in the offseason have turned to veteran pitchers. They made three veteran moves for their rotation. Today we will take a look at the projected Atlanta Braves pitching rotation for 2017.
1. Julio Teheran
Julio Teheran had an improved 2016 season as he did polish his ERA. In 2015 his ERA was above 4.0. It was down to 3.21 last season. Julio has to be considered the ace on the Braves and should have the most upside. He threw a great slider in 2016 with opposing batters only hitting a .187 against it. Adding all the veterans to the rotation should give Teheran some help this time around. With the Braves moving to their new SunTrust Park in the coming season, the fans are hoping it will mean a new dawn for their team. The production out of Julio Teheran will play a major factor.
2. R. A. Dickey
Atlanta took signing veterans literally when they signed 42-year-old R.A. Dickey this offseason. Despite his age, there is no denying his consistency over the years. His time with the Mets in the NL East is when he established himself as a viable starter. Since then he has played for the Blue Jays in the American League East. While in the AL East, his numbers haven’t been as fantastic, but are productive nonetheless. He is a knuckle-baller who will eat innings. Inning eaters are what the Braves need these veteran pitchers to be. Being back in the NL could be a major plus for Dickey in the late stages of his career.
3. Bartolo Colón
It may feel like Bartolo Colon has been around forever, because he has been around nearly two decades now. This will be his 20th season in MLB. The age meter only moves up here as he is 43, but he could bring the type of energy Atlanta has been missing. “Big Sexy” is trying to lose a little weight this season, but will remain a big factor on a new team. He comes off jovial and is fun to watch which will be tremendous for the fans and the clubhouse.
Atlanta is hoping he can accomplish the same feats he accomplished the past three seasons in New York. Bartolo does not always put up the best numbers in the world whatsoever, but he can still hang in games and win them despite that fact. This was a good move on the part of the Braves, because he should make a solid number three starter. If they can get around 190 innings out of him, it will be a positive signing for the rotation.
4. Jaime García
The third veteran pitcher now in Atlanta is Jaime Garcia. The Braves traded some prospects to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Garcia. He is a decade younger than both Dickey and Colon, but he comes with baggage. He has been an inconsistent starter and has suffered several injuries over the years. The Braves need him to stay healthy in order to keep him in the rotation. It certainly does not help that he is coming off his worse season to date.
The good news is that they acquired him with only one year left on his contract. This means the team could decide to use him in a trade at some point in the season. There is both an upside and a downside to the Braves now having Garcia. It will all depend on his health and if he has the ability to bounce back from a rough 2016. If he does stay healthy he is perfect for fourth in the rotation. He is also a lefty in a rotation that will be full of right-handed pitching.
5. Mike Foltynewicz
The Atlanta Braves have a trio of young pitchers in Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, and Aaron Blair. This will most likely be a battle in spring training to see who the 5th starter should be. All three will probably make starts throughout the season, but the consistent number five man is Mike Foltynewicz. Both Blair and Wisler put up huge Earned Run Averages in 2016, while Foltynewicz went 9-5 with a 4.31 ERA. In his last two season with the Braves he has some viable numbers, and could be ready for more action.
While Foltynewicz is a step above his young peers, he does have his own faults. He can easily give up the long ball. His velocity is powerful and has coaches loving that, but he has had issues going far into a game. He will overpower a batter, but that can only last for so long. The fans are on his side, but he needs the pitching coach to stay on his side. His stats are reasonable up to this point, but we will find out how feasible they are if the bullpen have to play many innings when he pitches.
Can the Braves Rise in 2017?
The Braves used 16 different starting pitchers in 2016 and the majority are no longer on the team. They have made the moves they see fit, but can this all mold together? They have a mix of veterans and young pitchers now to bring more than they brought to the table in 2016. It is hard to imagine the team as a whole being worse than last year. They are bound to improve, yet by how much?
One thing is for sure with the 2017 Atlanta Braves, their pitching will be much better. They will not be as awful as they were last season. The team is coming off a season where they were in the bottom ten of most pitching stats. The veterans they brought in are up in age, or injury prone, but they are productive. The possibility is these veterans will just be middle of the road pitchers that could spiral out of control, so if this new rotation is good enough to put the team on the rise remains to be seen. Fans sit on pins and needles hoping the 2017 season at the new SunTrust Park won’t just be another dark dusk in the end.
What do you think about the Braves 2017 pitching staff? Let us know in the comments!