Reports suggest that the Atlanta Braves are still looking for upgrades to their starting rotation but it remains to be seen whether or not a deal will materialize between now and Opening Day. As things currently stand, things are pretty clear cut in the rotation with an interesting competition developing for the final spot.
What will the starting rotation look like on Opening Day?
Ivan: Foltynewicz, Gausman, and Newcomb seem like locks. Sadly, it doesn’t look like Teheran is going anywhere (until he mercifully does). So those are your four if the Braves can’t dump him. The team won’t need a fifth starter too often in April, and I imagine that the team has good reason to start most of the younger arms in the minors. So who ends up taking that fifth starter spot will be some mix of winning the Spring Training “competition” and pitching schedule for Gwinnett relative to Atlanta. I’ll tentatively say it’ll be Touki Toussaint but honestly, it’s a die roll.
Eric: Folty, Gausman, and Newcomb for sure. I still think the Braves will find a suitor for Teheran as it looks like the Braves have frankly better options internally for the rotation and teams will be looking for starting help as we progress into the spring since that always happens. I will stay on brand and say Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint as the other two spots.
Gaurav: Foltynewicz, Gausman, Newcomb, Teheran, Soroka - granted Soroka is good to go at the start of the season. If not, I like Toussaint in that fifth starter role as the Braves ease him into the big leagues. If I had it my way I would roll with the idea of Max Fried in the rotation alongside Foltynewicz, Gausman, Newcomb, Soroka, Fried. Or you can go with the really bold idea of going straight high ceiling starters and have Foltynewicz, Gausman, Fried, Toussaint, Soroka - but that’s a pipe dream.
Scott: As others have said, I’ll say Foltynewicz, Gausman, Newcomb, Teheran and Soroka. I have no faith in Julio and would much rather give those innings to Fried, Touki or literally anyone else with a pulse.
Demetrius: Folty, Gausman, Newcomb, Teheran and a massive free-for-all for the fifth spot. I’m going to say that Touki’s going to get it. Of course, it would be in Atlanta’s best interests to finally trade Julio and you’d think that in this era of baseball teams trying to find value for as cheap as they possibly can, there would be some teams you there who could come to the table with a good enough offer for a pitcher with Julio’s credentials and contract. We haven’t heard much of anything on that front so I’m not really keeping my hopes up in that regard. Until Teheran gets moved or he just becomes completely unreliable as a starter, he’ll stay in the rotation.
ABsinceWayBack: I expect that the Opening Day rotation will be Foltynewicz, Gausman, Newcomb, Soroka, and Teheran. Teheran will be out quickly if he struggles early, however. It would be interesting to see Patrick Weigel being used as an opener for Sean Newcomb. Weigel is coming off Tommy John Surgery, has a hot fastball, and is a righty opener complement to the lefty Newcomb, who has had trouble going deep into games.
Dillon: Foltynewicz, Newcomb, Gausman, Teheran, and Toussaint. I think Soroka gets treated with kid gloves early on, by staying on a strict pitch limit in Triple-A to begin the season. Teheran is the wild card here, as a trade would obviously shake things up, but for now I think the club values his innings above all else due to the youth and volatility of their other options. If he struggles, however, I would imagine he will be relegated to bullpen rather quickly.
Wayne: It’s hard to see anyone other than Foltynewicz, Gausman, and Newcomb atop the rotation. I think there are quite a few wild cards after that. Soroka has the stuff and showed well in big league starts, but it wouldn’t be outrageous to see the Braves ease him back in with a few short starts in Gwinnett. Teheran seems like a lock for the rotation, but maybe not a lock for the Braves rotation as it seems they still hope to move him. That said, maybe as a No. 4 or 5 starter he’s ok(?). Weigel is an interesting candidate, but I don’t think the Braves are in a rush, and Toussaint has some of my favorite stuff of the young guys. My wishfullest thinking: Folty, Gausman, Newk, Soroka, Toussaint.
Doc: Folty will break Julio’s streak of Opening Day starts, and stay as the team’s #1 throughout the season. Gausman and Newcomb will fill the #2 and #3 slots (though I’m not sure who takes which spot), and Julio - whether you like it or not - falls into the #4 role. For the final rotation spot, I think it goes to Soroka. I could see a scenario where Max Fried and Touki Toussaint both serve in swing roles, alternating between long relief and spot starting, but ultimately Soroka’s upside is the most dependable of the candidates for that last spot. I have a feeling that Touki finds himself in the rotation to close out the season, and makes a push for Rookie of the Year.
Kris: Barring a trade things look pretty set 1-4. Mike Foltynewicz is entrenched at the top and will be followed in some order by Kevin Gausman, Sean Newcomb and Julio Teheran. Teheran is an interesting case because it looked like he might no longer have a place on the roster when 2018 ended but to this point he remains in an Atlanta uniform. Things are shaping up for quite a battle in spring training for the final spot in the rotation. Mike Soroka is my pick to win that spot provided he is healthy but Touki Toussaint, Luiz Gohara and others could figure into the discussion.