The Braves were on the search for controllable starting pitchers at the trade deadline. Now, it looks like they may have one too many arms. Obviously kidding, you can never have too much pitching, but the Braves staff now looks a whole lot deeper and more impressive than it did just a month ago.
The noticeable difference is the addition of Kevin Gausman from the Orioles. He was Atlanta’s major splash at the trade deadline, and while he was nothing more than average in Baltimore, he is showcasing his full potential so far with the Braves. in four starts, he has a 3-1 record with a 2.00 ERA and is fresh off going eight shutout innings against the Pirates. Once the fourth overall pick in 2012, the LSU product flashed ace potential with the Orioles, an organization known for mishandling pitching prospects. As a Brave, he is focusing on becoming a more consistent product and has been fantastic thus far.
The more surprising contributions have come from the young guns. Everyone around baseball knows the ridiculous amount of pitching prospects the Braves have at their disposal, and fans have been lucky enough to see glimpses of some of the best. First, it was Touki Toussaint who made his MLB debut on August 13th against the Marlins. He dazzled, allowing a single run and two hits in six innings pitched. Sure, the Marlins are one of the league’s worst offenses, but Touissant showed enough stuff to have all of Braves Country excited. Then, it was Bryse Wilson. Wilson, who is just two years removed from high school, was dominant over five innings of scoreless baseball against the Pirates on Monday. Who knows when these guys will start next, but they proved they have something to offer at the MLB level once the rosters expand.
However, the rotation cannot dazzle without the familiar faces performing. Yesterday, Sean Newcomb became the latest pitcher to prevail, tossing six scoreless innings against the Marlins. He has actually been the single pitcher in the rotation who has struggled of late, so it is nice to see him bounce back against a team he has crushed all season. Mike Foltynewicz has become not just the ace of this staff, but a true #1 pitcher. He takes the mound tonight after throwing seven scoreless innings versus the Rockies in his last start. Anibal Sanchez has continued his run of Mr. Consistent, while Julio Teheran seems like he may even be finding his old stuff.
In their last six games, Braves starters have allowed a measly four earned-runs over 39 2/3 innings. It was not long ago this group was being criticized for being too young, too inconsistent and not deep enough for a legitimate postseason run. Today, there is a whole different feeling surrounding them. This rotation is as deep as they come one through five, features a legitimate ace and several live arms that can toss a shutout on any given night.
We all know what the Braves offense can do. They have garnered respect around the league for being full of explosive talent. But at this rate, it is a matter of time before this rotation starts assembling a similar reputation.