Braves: Is it already time to replace Bryce Elder?

Braves Bryce Elder Darius Vines

Bryce Elder came into Saturday night’s game with a 1.50 ERA in two starts since being called up from AAA Gwinnett, but the billion dollar Dodgers lineup posed a much more significant threat than the Marlins and Guardians.

After a quick first inning from both high powered offenses, Los Angeles would strike first on a two-run homer from Max Muncy. Shohei Ohtani would add to the lead in the following frame with a blast of his own, and things really got out of hand in the fourth. The Dodgers third home run of the game ignited a four-run inning, all of which were charged to Elder, who exited the inning after recording just one out.

It was one of those outings from Elder that was reminiscent of the second half of last season. With Tyler Glasnow on the bump for the Dodgers, a struggling Braves offense never had a chance, and it didn’t take long for the haters to come out of hiding, clamoring for Elder to be sent back to Gwinnett and never return.

Listen, I get it. Elder doesn’t have the kind of stuff that is going to blow anybody away, and because of that, his location has to be perfect for him to be effective. When it isn’t, this is the result, especially against a talented lineup like the Dodgers.

However, there’s not a pitcher in baseball that’s been as productive as Bryce Elder has over his career that gets more grief. At just 24-years-old, he’s already made his first All-Star game and owns a 3.76 career ERA. This is a guy that’s had a lot of success at every level, from college to the minors to the majors.

Here are the numbers prior to Saturday’s game:

That’s pretty damn good and pretty damn consistent.

Like most Braves fans, I’m enamored by the talent of AJ Smith-Shawver as well as Hurston Waldrep. I can’t wait for them to get to Atlanta and become permanent impact contributors. However, they are far from flawless prospects, and it’s a long season.

If the Braves want to go in that direction this early, you’ll get no argument from me, but the Bryce Elder hate is overblown. There are a lot of teams that would love to have him in their rotation, and if he continues to pitch every five days for the Braves, this team is going to be just fine.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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