If you took a poll of Braves Country, it would show Craig Kimbrel as a Brave and not Dallas Keuchel. That being said, the Braves signed Dallas to a 1-year, 20 million dollar deal yesterday, June 6th. A prorated amount of $13 million will be paid to Keuchel this season. The 31-year-old southpaw has a career record of 76-63 and a 3.66 ERA. Those are even better numbers considering he recorded all of them in the American League. Keuchel is a former AL CY Young award winner (2015) with almost 1,200 MLB Innings to his name. Last year, he accumulated a 12-11 record, 3.74 ERA, and 204 innings pitched. So, what exactly are the Braves getting with Keuchel? Let’s look at what the numbers tell us.
Dallas is not a flamethrower — as his fastball sits in the upper 80s. His game is built around the command of his pitches and contact. He has a career ground ball percentage of 58.8%. That is the sign of a pitcher with excellent control — especially in this current hitting era of “elevate and celebrate.” Dallas mixes his repertoire of fastballs, changeups, sliders, and cutters well, keeping hitters off-balance.
The Braves are getting a workhorse in Keuchel. With bullpen specialization being what it is in today’s game, pitchers don’t throw 200+ innings anymore. Keuchel can. He has crossed the 200-inning threshold three out of his seven MLB seasons — including last year. The Braves desperately need starters that can go deep into ball games due to their porous bullpen. Keuchel is the type of pitcher who can go 6+ innings every start out and be effective. Hopefully, the lack of a DH in the National League will not hinder his ability to pitch deep into games.
Once Keuchel is available for Atlanta, the rotation could look like this:
Keuchel has the ability to be a 2-3 in a rotation. He could be at 4 here to break up the righties and lefties for match-up purposes. Regardless of where he pitches, the Braves got substantially better today by signing Dallas Keuchel.
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