The Braves starting pitching depth took a minor blow as reports came in on Thursday afternoon that Kolby Allard will begin the season on the Injured List due to an oblique strain.
#Braves lefty Kolby Allard has grade 2 right oblique strain and will begin season on IL. Former ATL 1st-rounder returned to Braves from Rangers in Nov. trade for Jake Odorizzi, after 4 seasons w/Texas. He's expected to be at Triple A when healthy & provide rotation depth for ATL.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 9, 2023
His injury is a reminder that clubs can never have enough pitching; it’s repeated ad nauseam, but it’s true. Thankfully, Alex Anthopoulos acquired more than enough arms this offseason to sustain these minor injuries.
The top-end talent is apparent, and its aces can go toe-to-toe with any in the MLB. Max Fried and Spencer Strider are 1A and 1B. The middle part of the rotation is more than solid. Kyle Wright recorded an eye-popping 21 wins, and Charlie Morton struggled in 2022 but is primed for a major bounce back campaign.
The depth was unreal at the beginning of the offseason. Ian Anderson, Bryce Elder, Michael Soroka, Kyle Muller, and Kolby Allard were all expected to compete for the final spot in the rotation; fast forward to the present and we are lucky AA went overkill on the starting rotation depth.
Muller was traded in the deal that sent Sean Murphy to Atlanta. Soroka began the year behind the eight ball, dealing with a hamstring injury, and now Allard is dealing with his own injury. Moreover, Kyle Wright could potentially miss his first turn in the rotation after receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder, which set him back this offseason.
Alex Anthopoulos has stated multiple times that the club expects as many as ten different pitchers to start games for the Braves this year, and I think you’re seeing just why — injuries are inevitable.
The final spot was likely always going to come down to Elder and Anderson. The latter owns a 1.26 ERA over 35.2 postseason innings and entered the 2023 campaign with a new offering. The former is just as rock solid as they come, posting a 3.17 ERA last season, ending the year on a tear — recording a 1.65 ERA over his last five starts.
It’s a shame about Kolby Allard because he was having an encouraging Spring Training, but this club has more than enough arms to handle the loss of a pitcher that was expected to be a depth piece this season.
Photographer: Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire
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