Kyle Muller took Bryce Elder‘s spot on the roster for Sunday’s game against the Rangers and… it went about as miserably as it possibly could have. Muller’s control issues, which have plagued him throughout his professional career, shined bright as he walked six batters in just 2.2 innings and allowed seven runs.
Looking at it from a glass half full perspective, I actually thought Muller’s stuff looked better than it did last season, but that doesn’t matter when you can’t touch the strike zone. He needs much more time in Gwinnett before the Braves give him another opportunity, which means a new starting pitcher should join the roster in the coming days.
The Braves could always go back to Bryce Elder, who they optioned to make room for Kyle Muller. However, I don’t see that as a realistic option. Elder has flashed some real potential this season, but like Muller, control is an issue. He’s walked 14 batters in his last three starts. The Braves need somebody more reliable at this point.
Davidson allowed five earned runs in 2.2 innings in his first appearance with Atlanta this season. Soon after, he was optioned to Gwinnett, where he hasn’t looked nearly as sharp as he has in years past. Still, the stuff is there, and he has some major-league experience, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves turned to him next.
Toussaint actually might be the most likely option. He’s been lights out in Gwinnett, recording a 2.04 ERA and striking out 23 batters in 17.2 innings. The talent is undeniable with Touki, but he’s running out of opportunities. Eventually, he’ll get one this season, and it might make sense to give him a start this upcoming week.
Since being optioned to Gwinnett, Huascar Ynoa has had a lot of success, posting a 3.09 ERA over 11.2 innings. Personally, I would like to see him stay down for a little longer and work out the kinks, but if the Braves think he’s figured something out already, he’s a realistic option.
To me, this is a no-brainer. While I value the long relief role Strider is currently occupying, he’s looked unhittable more often than not and could be the missing piece to the rotation. In his last outing versus the Rangers on Saturday, he made it through 3.2 innings in just 33 pitches while striking out five. Strider should be the guy starting for the Braves the next time through the rotation.