A report from yesterday has revealed that top prospect Kyle Muller has a broken bone in his non-throwing hand. The medical staff is currently trying to make a splint for him so he can continue to pitch with the injury, but that is yet to be determined. As of now, Muller is not in Gwinnett’s rotation for the next five days.
#Braves prospect Kyle Muller was hit in the right (non-pitching) hand by a comebacker during batting practice a few days ago, and they're trying to get a splint made that will allow him to pitch. That's why he's not listed in Triple-A Gwinnett's planned starters for next 5 days.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 26, 2022
The Braves seem hopeful Muller might be able to avoid an IL stint, but I have my reservations, and if that’s the case, the need for a starting pitcher just got much greater.
Up to this point, I’ve maintained adding to the rotation is not a necessity for the Braves. The top four in Atlanta’s rotation is as good as any, and despite Anderson’s struggles, I’m willing to give him a couple more chances to figure things out. But even if he can’t, I believe Muller could be ready to contribute consistently at the major-league level. We are talking about a fifth starter, after all. It’s not like Muller and Anderson have to carry the load by any means. They just need to eat some innings and give the team a chance to win once every five days, which I think they are both capable of. But with Muller potentially sidelined, that complicates things.
Anderson can’t be the only option for the fifth spot right now; he’s hanging by a thread as it is. With one more poor outing, there’s no way the Braves can keep sending him out there to get slaughtered. It’s not good for the team, and it’s not good for his confidence. Sadly, the Braves don’t have any other inspiring options outside of Muller.
Huascar Ynoa has been lit up as a starter in Gwinnett. Tucker Davidson hasn’t been much better, Mike Soroka isn’t anywhere close to returning, and Touki Toussaint was DFA’d last month. If Anderson can’t figure things out and Muller has to spend time on the IL, the Braves will find themselves in a pickle if they don’t at least add another major-league caliber starter that can potentially eat some innings.
Ideally, Alex Anthopoulos would like a little more time to evaluate the situation, but time is not something that is available. The trade deadline is next week, which could force the Braves’ hand. If they don’t make a move now and things go wrong, that’s not a position they want to find themselves in. So while I find it highly unlikely Atlanta will be in the Luis Castillo or Frankie Montas sweepstakes, adding a lesser-known starter that won’t cost too much prospect capital is becoming a more significant need by the day.