How should the Braves approach their rotation moving forward?

Braves top prospect Kyle Muller

At the time of this writing, the Braves don’t have a starter named for Sunday. That will change very soon, and I imagine the choice will be Kyle Muller. He was pulled from his start in Gwinnett this weekend and has performed admirably in his four outings for the Stripers this season, posting a 3.66 ERA.

Muller should replace Elder on the roster, who hasn’t looked half-bad in his first opportunities as a major-league pitcher. For a guy who was drafted in 2020 and participated in one year of professional baseball, he should be commended for what he’s been able to accomplish so quickly. I have no doubt that he will be a long-term piece of the rotation, but for now, his control remains an issue. After walking nobody in his first start, Elder has surrendered 14 free passes in his last three. That’s not going to cut it at this level, so a stint in AAA seems warranted.

Muller will be auditioning for the fifth and final spot in the rotation moving forward. I don’t see any reason the Braves should continue to roll with a six-man rotation. They are now a month into the season, have plenty of off-days coming up, and their pitching staff is well stretched out. A six-man rotation is just overkill at this point, but they still need to figure out who their fifth guy is.

I imagine it will be a revolving door for a little bit, with Muller getting the first opportunity. Others to consider are Spencer Strider — who pitched splendidly last night over 3.2 innings — Tucker Davidson, Touki Toussaint, and of course, Bryce Elder.  If I had to guess, Strider is next in line for a start, judging by how hopeless he was able to make Texas’ batters look on Saturday.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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