So, the continuing adventures of Charlie Morton are now postponed until 2022. The options for replacing the #10 starter in baseball by fWAR are pretty slim. The Braves need to decide if they want another starter or reliever. Let’s look at their options, but first let’s look at who it won’t be. For one, it won’t be Tucker Davidson (probably), Grant Dayton, Huascar Ynoa, or Bryse Wilson. Davidson and Dayton reside on the 60-day IL, Ynoa is ineligible for being injured in the NLCS, and Wilson was traded midseason. And alas, Mike Soroka isn’t walking through that door.
Kyle Wright may hold the answer as to whether the Braves select a reliever. Wright had an excellent season in Gwinnett, posting a 3.02/3.33/3.75 line in 137 innings — remember that this is the same league where Johan Camargo, Orlando Arcia, and friends put up ridiculous batting lines in 2021. But, Wright brings a career -0.8 fWAR with him against a pretty serious lineup. So the starter/reliever choice may rest on if Wright on the roster to potentially start or to pick up the trash can (ha, Astros and trash cans) innings. Let’s assume he will pick up a start for now and let’s look at some relievers.
Sean Newcomb gives you a multi-inning option as well as some single-inning lefty action. The former starter has a 4.73/3.60/4.62 line this season. He would be a good choice if you could assume that he could throw strikes. He could find out if his 3.8% HR/FB was a blip or the start of a trend.
Richard Rodriguez brings closer experience from the Pirates and not much else. He sports a ghastly 5.36 xFIP that he’d be bringing into a tiny Houston park. The ERA is great, but doesn’t seem to outshine the 5.88 K/9 this season.
Edgar Santana is a cromulent righty bullpen option. He sports a 3.59/4.60/4.04 this season. If you believe his HR/FB rate is bad luck, he might be your guy. He was also last seen injured, so it’s not clear if he’s available.
Touki Toussaint gives you a multi-inning option from the right side. He also gives you heartburn with his 5.79 FIP. He has discarded the four-seam fastball for chiefly a sinker-curveball combo. He might be excellent if he could throw strikes, but that’s every reliever.
Jacob Webb just missed the cut for the World Series roster. He was roughed up for 4 runs by the Dodgers in NLCS Game 5. He has been serviceable with a 4.19/4.07/4.61 line. For a single-inning guy, he is probably your best choice.
Here is a picture of Josh Tomlin. If Wright was the garbage time guy pressed into starting, then Tomlin has filled that role in the past. Probably not likely though, so let’s look at some starters for Game 4 or 5.
Kyle Muller had a brilliant June and July until running into issues with the Nationals and Reds in August. He had a 4.17/3.66/4.88 line with 0.7 fWAR over 8 starts before Huascar Ynoa came back. His four-seam and curveball are solid, so long as he is careful with the slider. He was very good in Gwinnett as well with a 3.39/4.12/4.30 line. The mechanics issues that crept up on him and got him exiled from the major league rotation are a concern, however.
The Braves rewarded Spencer Strider with a regular season callup in October. He worked out with the team in the NLDS leadup. He raced through four levels of minor league ball, but this is the World Series. He would have to have some serious composure with a hammer of a slider to match to even come close to competing.
Charlie Morton’s injury has put the Braves in a tough spot There is no clear frontrunner for his replacement. I would lean toward Jacob Webb or Kyle Muller, but Touki Toussaint or Sean Newcomb might be ok. Good luck to the winner on this spot.