In an off-season that has seen many moving parts, the starting rotation no different parting ways with Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both of them had to have their 2nd Tommy John before the 2014 season. Also losing Ervin Santana to the Minnesota Twins, he had 14 and 10 record with a 3.95 ERA.
The Braves couldn’t afford to keep Medlen or Beachy due to the injury history, but they were very effective while with the Braves while healthy so I wish the best! The team was outbid was for Ervin Santana, these three were important for the rotation in the time they pitched for the team they will be tough to replace. The 2015 rotation is going to be a mix of veterans and young guys following the Jon Hart blueprint of this off-season.
Ace Julio Teheran
Teheran is the leader of this rotation even though he is just 24 years old; he carries himself like a 10- year veteran. He was the most consistent pitcher last year for a team that was offensively challenged averaging nine strikeouts per game. He still managed a 14-13 record with a 2.89 ERA and his 1st All-Star appearance. Overall he has a 29-22 record with 3.19 ERA, very impressive for a guy who is just getting his career started.
For 2015 Teheran is going to be the leader once again, setting the tone for the other guys to follow all year-long. Hopefully the revamped offense that is figured to strikeout less will help Teheran post great numbers and take the pressure off every pitch and allow for a mistake or two, that he could not afford last season.
Number 2 – Alex Wood
Alex is a crafty Left-Hander with a herky- jerky motion that creates an uncomfortable at-bat for everyone. In his two seasons with the Braves he has split time as a starter and a reliever. In 2014 he was 11-11 with a 2.78 ERA, the majority was spent, as a starter where I believe is most effective because it allows him to get in a rhythm with his mechanics and get into hitters heads. Overall he is 14-14 with 2.89 ERA, also very impressive for a guy that I remember seeing pitch in High school.
In 2015 he should be more comfortable not having to fight for a roster spot, as he has the past 2 seasons. He no longer will have to worry about his role on this team, he will be a starter for many years to come. I expect him to be very solid again this season and a great compliment to the rotation with his unique delivery.
Number 3-Shelby Miller
Shelby Miller was the key piece in the Jason Heyward deal, this deal wasn’t well received on the Braves side because Jason Heyward was beloved on and off the field. This trade looks to be a win-win, the Cardinals got an awesome defender, great speed and still developing offensively. The Braves got a 24-year-old power arm with great upside.
Shelby Miller had a great start to his Braves career this spring, showing why they would pull the trigger on this young arm. He has a power fastball and sinker these are his best pitches mixing in a change-up to keep hitters honest. Shelby is coming off a solid 2014 with a 10-9 record and a 3.74. Overall he is 26-18 and a 3.33 ERA. A great start to his career that is just getting started.
In 2015 he will look to make an impact on his new team right away and build on 2014. He is a welcome addition to the rotation and after facing Alex Wood who is more of fineness pitcher. Miller’s power will be an advantage after the unique delivery of Wood, just another thing for opponent to think about when facing the Braves.
Number 4- Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez was a low-risk high reward signing this off-season due to recent injury history. He has taken this opportunity by the horns this spring, in 5 starts he is 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA and 13 strikeouts. He has made a great first impression if he keeps this up the Braves rotation might be deeper than expected.
In 2015 I expect him to be a veteran presence and most importantly give this team a chance to win every night. The keys for a successful season is to obviously stay healthy as he has battled arm and shoulder injuries over the past few years. On the field he has a tendency to be a little wild, hopefully he has that under control. I expect him to be one of the nice surprise for the Braves this season.
Number 5- Eric Stults
Eric Stults is another veteran Jon Hart has brought in this off-season, many think he could be this years version of Arron Harang He has had an up and down career going 35-43 with a 4.12 ERA mostly with the Padres, his numbers will not jump out at you, but he is another veteran presence at the back of the rotation that can help the young guys.
He is also taking advantage of the opportunity with the Braves this spring with a 1-0 record and a 2.57 ERA, he doesn’t light up the radar gun topping out at 90 mph, but he knows how to get hitters out. In 2015 I also expect him to be solid and give the team a chance to win every time out.
This rotation is a perfect mixture of power and finesse it has a chance to surprise people with the solid spring they are all having. The offense will be a key to take press off of every pitch, if that happens we have a chance to put up a lot of W’S this season with the back-end of the bullpen and those possibilities. It will be exciting to watch!