The Braves shocked mostly everyone with their decision to DFA Mike Foltynewicz following his first start on Monday, but in this shortened season, there’s not much room for error, and Folty just hasn’t looked the same since the restart. The Braves have yet to announce who will start in his place. Brian Snitker initially mentioned the possibility of using an opener and also said yesterday that Touki Toussaint is an option. After Monday’s game, I talked about all the Braves’ options from Jhoulys Chacin to Josh Tomlin, but today I’m going to give you the guy(s) I think are the best choice to take over for Folty in the long-term.
Option 1: Tucker Davidson
Again, this is my opinion, but It’s pretty obvious the Braves are in a crappy position as far as the back end of their rotation is concerned. And it’s going to be challenging to fix with a trade, considering the season just started, it’s only 60 games long, and there’s an expanded 16-team playoff format, so every team feels like they have a chance right now. With that in mind, one of the young studs is going to have to step up, and as far as players that haven’t made their debut yet, Davidson appears to be the most MLB ready.
Davidson hasn’t always been a highly-touted prospect, but his stellar 2019 changed that. As a 23-year-old, he began the year in Mississippi, where he was unhittable, posting a 2.03 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 110.2 innings, leading to a promotion to Gwinnett.
While most prospects experience a bit of a rough patch in their transition from AA to AAA, Davidson did not. He started in four games and recorded a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings. It’s a small sample size, but he’s looked just as impressive in his outings over both Spring Trainings. Typically, I’m not for throwing prospects into the fire after just four AAA starts — even if they look great — but this is far from a normal situation. The Braves are desperate for a boost, and Davidson is their best option, as far as prospects that have not made their debut go.
Option 2: Jhoulys Chacin
I included a second option because there’s a possibility Davidson gets the call and isn’t ready. Some of you are probably asking, “Where’s Ian Anderson?” And the Braves might turn to him if the situation continues to worsen. But based on the way he handled his promotion to AAA last year, he’s far from ready.
If Davidson doesn’t work, the Braves might have to give Chacin a legit shot and hope he has an Anibal Sanchez-type revival to his career. It’s not unfathomable. The 32-year old looked fantastic in his first outing for the Braves, earning the win Sunday night after tossing 3.2 scoreless innings. He’s also just a year removed from having a more than a respectable season for the Brewers, posting a 3.50 ERA and 15-8 record over 35 starts. There’s a chance 2019 was just a blip on the radar for Chacin, and he can provide the boost this rotation needs over the shortened season.