Foltynewicz first start leaves the Braves with even more questions about their rotation

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After Felix Hernandez opted out of the season and Cole Hamels landed on the 45-day IL, the Braves rotation had a lot more questions in a matter of weeks. And those concerns have only heightened after the first four games.

The Braves know what they are going to get with Mike Soroka and Max Fried. Those are their young stallions that they can count on for a quality start every five days. However, after that, they have to hold their breath.

Sean Newcomb had some success in the bullpen last year, and his control issues seem to fade away as a reliever, but that has yet to happen as a starter. In his first appearance on Sunday, he threw 82 pitches and only made it through 3.1 innings. The stuff has always been there for Newk to be a top of the rotation caliber pitcher, but for some reason, he’s allergic to the strike zone every time he toes the rubber as a starter. Still, Newcomb’s far from the biggest worry Atlanta has in their rotation.

Today, Mike Foltynewicz made his first start of the regular season after a discouraging outing in the Braves’ first exhibition, and the red flags continued to wave. Mike Foltynewicz, whose fastball used to sit over 98 mph on average in 2014, is no longer the fireballer he used to be. The trend of his decline in velocity has continued each season, and today, his average fastball sat below 90, just like it did against the Marlins last week. It’s unknown if there is some underlying issue, but Folty has said he feels fine, which may even be more disappointing in the long-term for the Braves. Perhaps he deserves another opportunity, but he’s not going to get one. After the game, the Braves designated Mike Foltynewicz for assignment.

Chad Sobotka will join the Braves in his place, but we will have to wait and see who takes Folty’s spot in the rotation.

The Braves’ last hope in the back end of their rotation is Kyle Wright, who toes the rubber for the first time tomorrow. What we know about Wright is that he has all the tools to thrive at the major-league level. But after last year’s struggles (8.69 ERA in 19.2 innings for the Braves), there’s no reason to be anything more than cautiously optimistic. Hopefully, this is the year Wright figures it out because if he doesn’t, the Braves are in some pretty deep trouble, and they don’t have much time to sort things out in a shortened season.

Atlanta has several things going for them. They are going to put up a lot of runs, their chemistry is as good as anyone’s, and their bullpen is one of the best in the entire league. However, it’s overwhelmingly apparent what their glaring weakness is. They will now have to evaluate their options as far as the starting rotation goes. Luckily, the expanded playoffs gives them a little more wiggle room for error.


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  1. Pingback: Braves: 3 potenzielle Trades für Rotation helfen dabei, ein Auge auf sich zu haben | Nach Welt

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