Poll: How many starters do Braves have for next season? 1, 2 … any?

Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz delivers in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners on Monday night. Foltynewicz has been rocked in recent starts. (AP photo)

The Braves reached a new season low Monday night, and I realize that’s saying a lot for a team that has lost 10 of its past 14 games and is on pace for a third consecutive 90-loss season (I point that out for all the lemmings who said, “NO WAY!” would this team come close to losing 90 games again).

As our David O’Brien chronicled, the Braves’ 6-5 loss to Seattle on Monday night was punctuated by starter Mike Foltynewicz getting outpitched by the Mariners’ Andrew Albers (who the Braves recent dumped off their Gwinnett roster for pocket change).

I won’t bang on Braves general manager John Coppolella (too much) for determining Albers didn’t have a future with the team. He was pitching great in Gwinnett (12-3, 2.61 ERA), but is 31 years old and had spent most of the past 10 years in the minors. But he allowed only three earned runs (four total) and six hits in five innings Monday night and is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA with Seattle – an ERA that would rank FIRST among Braves starters. So, of course, now Coppy looks dumb.

But for a moment, let’s assume there will be a market correction with Albers and he ends up being the “4A” pitcher the Braves think he is. The real problem Monday night was the Braves’ starter, not Seattle’s.

Foltynewicz allowed six earned runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. His ERA this season has ballooned to 4.95. I’ve written several times before about the uncertainty (nice word) of the rotation going into next season, given the lack of proven commodities on the current roster. Folty is a good place to start.

The rundown is below. Here’s my question: How many – if any – of the starters below would you be willing to count on next season? I’m listing the pitchers in order of major league starts this season:

• Julio Teheran: 25 starts, 7-11, 5.02 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 0.3 WAR: The two-time All-Star is having the worst season of his career. Teheran has been kept against the backdrop of constant trade rumors. Now that the Braves could be willing to move him, the question is how much value he still has on the trade market. I maintain Teheran would be good as a No. 3 starter, possibly even a 2 if he could return to his 2014 former (2.89 ERA). But he has declined significantly since then. He strangely has pitched far better on the road (6-2, 3.24) than at home (1-9, 6.98). Guess he’s not big on Cobb County.

• R.A. Dickey: 24 starts, 8-8, 3.98 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 1.8 WAR: Coppolella hoped Dickey, Bartolo Colon and Jaime Garcia could provide a bridge to next season. The bridge collapsed. Only Dickey is still here. He could be worth bringing back as a No. 5 starter. But when a 42-year-old knuckleballer has been your best starter, there’s a problem.

• Mike Foltynewicz: 24 starts, 10-9, 4.95 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 0.5 WAR: You don’t give up on a 25-year-old with his talent, but the lack of consistency and recent slide is concerning. His past three starts: 11.2 innings, 25 hits, 20 earned runs, 9 walks, 9 strikeouts.

• Sean Newcomb: 13 starts, 2-7, 4.13 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 1.1 WAR: He has been pretty much as advertised: talented but wild. He has walked 42 batters and allowed nine homers in 69 2/3 innings. Worst of all, he’s the only potential usable commodity who came in return in the horrible Andrelton Simmons trade with the Los Angeles Angels — a deal that made no sense at the time and makes even less sense now that Simmons is hitting .293.

• Lucas Sims: 4 starts, 1-3, 5.24 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 0.1 WAR: He’s been in the organization for six years. That’s all I’ve got.

• Matt Wisler: 1 start, 0-1, 7.04 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, -0.2 WAR: Remember when he came over in the Melvin Upton Jr. trade and some wanted to suggest he was a part of the Braves’ future? Not so sure about that. (Reaffirming: The Braves gave away Craig Kimbrel because San Diego agreed to also absorb Upton’s contract. That’s it. That’s all anybody should have ever paid attention to. Everything else in that trade was window dressing.)

• Aaron Blair: 1 start, 0-1, 15.00 ERA, 3.33 WHIP, -0.2 WAR: Like Wisler, he has a negative “WAR.” I’m not deep enough into analytics to understand how one gets a negative WAR, but I’m smart enough to know it’s bad. Fortunately, Blair is an after-thought in the Shelby Miller trade that also brought Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson.

(Other starters this season, since traded or released: Jaime Garcia, Bartolo Colon.)

So there’s your starters this season. Who do you like for next year? Vote in the poll.

Some recent ramblings

Reader Comments 0

37 comments
JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

These guys are probably headed to the bullpen, from what I can tell. Agree that the Simmons trade looks really bad. Regardless, you give the young prospects the ball next year. 

58Supersports
58Supersports

No long print... just probably 2 pitchers as of now. Maybe just one. It's a darn shame!

Thanks Jeff!

Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

Coppy and his scouts can't evaluate pitching. He's got two more years to fix the rotation or he should be out.

muuguh
muuguh

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sl007
sl007

Remember Coppy was left with a mess from Wren.  Melvin Upton 75 mil contract? Of course Coppy is no genius with contracts i.e. Colon, J. Johnson 5 mil a year for 2 years? These GM's throw millions around carelessly.  The market is 30 million a year for a no. 1 starter? That's about a million a start if you get all their starts.  Kershaw example on DL. Freddie is making 21 mil already and that is rediculus. Another Wren contract.

sea8491
sea8491

Have to wonder what the attendance will be next year?  I could not imagine paying money to see this team

sea8491
sea8491


Too bad Jeter bought the Marlins and not the Braves?


sameloyo
sameloyo

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Bob_the_Blogger
Bob_the_Blogger

As Mr. Schultz stated, the Simmons trade was senseless. The Braves are supposedly rebuilding around starting pitching and Simmons would have made every one of them a little better. Then they promoted Newcomb who has walked 5 batters per 9 innings his entire minor league career, after promoting Swanson straight from AA when he was hitting .260. Both players are talented, but both were brought up prematurely.

#41
#41

I agree 100% Jeff. This front office is incompetent. They have traded away so much proven talent for over hyped, unproven minor leaguers. Other teams played Hart/Coppy for suckers. Braves management had played the fans for suckers. Last year was awful, this year - hyped to be better - miserable, and I don't see hope for next year. As you point out - the 2018 rotation looks grim. 

But.......we have a upscale, yuppy, new ballpark in the 'burbs. 



DawgNole
DawgNole

@#41: "Last year was awful, this year - hyped to be better - miserable . . . ."

______________

Hey, don't forget two years ago, when they lost a mere 95 games.

Sub-.500 in 2014 as well. So yeah, they're on quite a roll with this "rebuild" crapola.

#41
#41

@DawgNole @#41 Yeah, the 90+ loss season has become a Braves tradition. 

Mutley
Mutley

Where is Ted Turner when you really need him. Come on Arthur Blank buy the Braves and give fans some hope. Championships are not on Libertys agenda.

LEWWHEEL
LEWWHEEL

At this point Folty is a good talent from neck down.

POV1948
POV1948

Since taking over as GM, Coppollela has staked the team's future on his skill in assembling pitching talent.  Increasingly clear that he is clueless.  

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Hey Schultzie ,

If you won't bang on Coppy for the Albers Yard Sale, how about all of his other moves or non moves since the end of 2016. Coppy leaking a story to DOB about being in the market for a true #1 starter for the 2017 season. Braves in the Chris Sale sweepstakes .That was it ,no other comment or story ,six weeks later Sale is traded to the Red Sox. Then after this years trading deadline passes and Coppy does zero to add any talent to the MLB squad, after feigning interest in Sonny Gray, another story is leaked to Mark Bradley, about how Coppy was close to a deal for Sale in December ,but balked when the White Sox insisted that Dansby Swanson be part of the deal. Yeah , starting pitching has been the undoing of the 2017 Atlanta Braves the Braves offense has improved from 18th in 2016 to 8th this year,but the pitching staff Coppy assembled  is actually statistically worse than last year 4.79 ERA in 2017 ,4.51 ERA in 2016.

lordporkchop
lordporkchop

I got as far as the sentence below before I stopped reading.  The score was actually 6-5.  A little editing would go a long way.  


"As our David O’Brien chronicled, the Braves’ 5-2 loss to Seattle Monday night was punctuated by starter Mike Foltynewicz getting outpitched by the Mariners’ Andrew Albers (whom the Braves recent dumped off their Gwinnett roster for pocket change)."

DawgNole
DawgNole

@lordporkchop

This is the AJC, which apparently no longer believes in copyediting--or even proofreading. 

It's a shame, really--especially coming from a once highly respected newspaper--because it makes even the paper's longtime writers appear ignorant/incompetent.

Perhaps the most difficult part to swallow is that the paper refuses to correct obvious errors--even after they've been pointed out. Your observation offers a good example.

BlawgDawg
BlawgDawg

@DawgNole @lordporkchop You and I have long-lamented the many sub-standard practices of ajc.com. Can you, or any other posters, offer any insight to the procedures for inclusion of an article or column on ajc.com?

Specifically, it is my understanding that the headline writer is not typically the writer of the story. True? Who is responsible for proofreading the headlines and stories and making sure they accurately complement each other?

Any knowledge of the inner workings of a newspaper's online editions would be appreciated.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BlawgDawg

Don't know about the inner workings of the AJC specifically.

You're correct that the author of an article doesn't generally write his/her own header. 

Worthwhile newspapers used to have copyeditors and proofreaders behind the authors to help prevent the kind of sloppiness that now permeates the pages of the AJC and many other once-fine newspapers.

Times have changed for papers in today's media world, certainly. But the numbers and kinds of errors we see here on a daily basis could be significantly reduced with a minimum of effort. 

I hate to see seasoned writers like Schultz and Bradley made to look foolish by the obvious absence of adequate proofreading and/or copyediting. And I find it particularly egregious that the AJC often won't correct obvious errors even after they've been pointed out. It was several hours, for example, before they fixed today's score miscue (pointed out by porkchop).
I'd like to think there are better times ahead for newspapers, but I'm absolutely not counting on it.

Big Wally
Big Wally

I don't know how many pitchers should come back, but someone should come at the pitching coach.  He is clearly not the man for the job.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Big Wally  That would appear to be true. He can't seem to do anything for Folty.

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

Folty is one of those kids that is borderline uncoachable. When he gets hit, he tries to throw harder and starts walking and hitting people setting up big innings. Hardest thing to teach is for a pitcher to trust his stuff and throw strikes.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@hardworkinman  I think you're right about being uncoachable. He has no patience and no calm.  He may end up being a reliever.

Howard Sokol
Howard Sokol

Maybe we need to stop looking at the pitching and look at the coaching, both minor leaque and major. Which pitcher would you say has improved over the last 2-3 years? Interestingly, I would say that with the hitters I have seen a lot of individual improvement: Inciarte, Freeman, Flowers, Suzuki, have all improved. I can't say anyone has gone backwards. Some have sort of stayed the same, like Swanson. Whereas, pitchers like Wisler, Blair, and Tehran have gotten worse. 

All that was promised when the team was broken up a few years ago and then trades and drafts made to build up the farm system isn't worth much if the players don't develop. Even Albies looked better a couple of years ago when they brought him up. Someone needs to take a good look at the coaching.

Years ago, when the team was consistently winning, the players were developed better, or at least it seems that way. We had lots of players who weren't high draft picks that came along and did very well - Medlin, Beachy, El Oso Blanco,

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Howard Sokol  Have to agree. They have the arms but lack the "Know how". The pitchers come up with good stats but leave humiliated.

BTC
BTC

Save this column so you can recycle it a year from now

TideDawg
TideDawg

Albers is going to be a Maddux type pitcher. He will learn what Folty hasn't learned and he will win a lot of games for Seattle. Sure, he's going to get knocked around, but he won't get frustrated the way Folty does. Albers will adjust, Folty just tries to throw harder.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TideDawg Albers is 31 years old , he will likely not be with the Mariners past this year, he was only picked up because the M's have 3/4 of their rotation on the DL.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Buschleaguer @TideDawg  The way he pitches, 4 or 5 more years are not going to change him that much. If he wins or continues to give them 5 good innings they will find a place for him(or some team will). Thanks for the information. I didn't know he was that old.

TideDawg
TideDawg

I'd say the Braves have 2 possibilities that could fill the 4th and 5th starter rolls(Neumann & Sims) Foltynewicz learns nothing from his starts. He has a million dollar arm and a two cent head. He throws 97-98 mph and was beaten by a recent call up from the Gwinnett Braves after he was traded to Seattle. Albers is 2-0 in his first two starts for Seattle and his top speed is 85 mph. The kid pitches and Folty throws. It was fun to see the reaction of the Seattle players the way they greeted Albers when he came out of the game. Folty just can't seem to understand how hitters can hit him when he throws 97-98 mph. It frustrates him and he seems to give up. He's learned nothing about pitching so far. Going to Gwinnett won't help him the way it helped Swanson. He can still throw it by minor leaguers so that won't improve his mental approach. He needs a "Pitcher whisperer" that can get to him and teach him how to use his talent. He can't "blow it" by major leaguers unless he can locate his pitches.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TideDawg Folty is reminiscent of another Braves starter , John Smoltz. Look at the first two years that Smoltz was in the Braves rotation, he show flashes of brilliance and then if things start to go sideways he tries to throw his fastball by every hitter. Foltynewicz may learn the finer points of pitching like Smoltz did, changing speeds  , having command of his fastball and controlling his emotions on the mound. Heck just a month ago Foltynewicz was in the middle of a 9-1  stretch and was considered the braves #1 starter.