It has been a wild 2017 so far for the Atlanta Braves. From the opening of SunTrust Park, to Freddie Freeman’s scorching start, which would later be halted by injury, and to a wild series vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, Braves country has been on one roller coaster of a ride. Caught up in all of this is the up-and-down ride that Kris Medlen has taken.
Braves fans received some pleasant news back in late January when Medlen, 31, inked a minor-league deal with Atlanta. After delays in his preparations, Medlen was released on March 28, only to be re-signed three days later. The Braves organization made it clear that the odd series of moves was in part to some transaction procedures.
After almost seven weeks of little to no word on Medlen’s progress, General Manager John Coppolella responded on Twitter to a fan’s question in regard to Medlen’s status. “Kris is doing great — he threw six shutout innings in his last start in Extended [Spring Training]. Look for him to join an affiliate in short order” said Coppolella.
The next step in the process seemed to be when and where Medlen would receive his first assignment. It wasn’t much longer after Coppolella’s comments that it was announced Medlen would start for the Advanced-A Florida Fire Frogs on May 20 according to David O’Brien of The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Expectations weren’t too high for Medlen in his first start, but boy did he dazzle in his debut for the Fire Frogs. Medlen tossed six scoreless frames while only allowing one hit. His next step is not certain yet, but this outing will definitely lead to better opportunities.
Braves fans are hoping that Medlen’s journey will end with a reunion in Atlanta. Once considered the next Greg Maddux, Medlen was the ace of the Braves for a time, especially raising eyebrows during the 2012 season with his 10-1 record to begin the season. After Tommy John surgery ended his quest of becoming a long time ace for the Braves, Medlen had a short stay in Kansas City as injuries once again plagued him.
Braves fans can’t help but pull for the California native that brought much to Atlanta in his first time there. His decision to postpone retirement and add another chapter in his career will not be an easy one, but could pay great dividends as Medlen could wind up being another veteran arm for an inconsistent big-league staff. Whether the journey is a success or not, it’s quite certain that Braves country is glad to see Medlen not succumbing to an early retirement just yet.