After the Braves placed Bartolo Colon on the diasbled list with an “injury”, there was speculation across Braves Country as to who would be starting this Saturday. The Braves not only had an open rotation spot, but they play a doubleheader and get an additional roster spot for the day.
The Braves opted to pull Sean Newcomb from his Wednesday start with Gwinnett and plan to start him for the first game of the doubleheader. Matt Wisler will start the second game.
Braves fans who closely monitor the farm system will certainly be excited to see what Newcomb can do at the big league level. For those who are not familiar with “Newk”, he was the main piece the team received for Andrelton Simmons. Many have compared him to Jon Lester, as he is a southpaw with a great fastball and curveball. We currently have him ranked as the 5th best prospect in Atlanta’s farm system.
Newcomb has a great resume. He is a former first round pick and has performed well at the minor league level. He led the Southern League in strikeouts last season. He currently has the 8th lowest ERA and the second-most strikeouts in the International League in his first season at AAA. He has great “stuff”, and could even potentially be a frontline starter if he can get a better handle on his control. He is a strikeout guy and has held batters to a .212 batting average this season. However, his walk rate of 5.2 BB/9 could be reason for concern. The good news is many lefty pitchers are late bloomers. He has put up great numbers in AAA, and there is no reason he cannot work on this during his time in the big leagues.
This is a huge opportunity of Newcomb. The Braves are essentially buying time with Bartolo Colon, which may very well be due to his bobblehead coming up in a handful of days. If Sean can make a good impression with the team, a rotation spot may be his for the taking, with no looking back. Newcomb is the highest upside pitcher we have seen the farm produce since the Coppy/Hart era began, so this is certainly an exciting time for Braves fans. He has been red hot in recent weeks for Gwinnett, and hopefully he can translate his success to the big league level.