Phillies: Five things learned from opening weekend sweep
Braves should have added some pitchers
A key concern among Braves fans coming into the season was their lack of notable additions to the pitching staff. Mike Foltynewicz received some down-ballot Cy Young votes and is a capable lead starter of the rotation. However, things aren’t as strong after him.
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With Foltynewicz expected to be out until mid-April, Julio Teheran was Atlanta’s Opening Day starter. He had a 3.94 ERA and 4.83 FIP last year, so it was little surprise to see him give up three runs in five innings.
From there, the Braves started two rookies with just one major-league start between them. Bryse Wilson gave up four runs in 3.1 innings on Saturday, then Kyle Wright gave up three in 4.1 on Sunday, taking the loss.
From there, the Braves have Sean Newcomb, who was almost sent to the minors after spring training, and Kevin Gausman, who has a career 4.12 ERA and is on the injured list, holding down the fort until Foltynewciz returns.
Once he does, one of the two aforementioned rookies will likely be sent down to the minors. Even when Foltynewicz does come back, the Braves pitching staff is less than formidable. Braves pitchers ranked 14th in the league and fourth in the NL East in Fangraphs wins above replacement in 2018. Their rough start to the year (third-worst ERA, second-worst FIP, highest walk rate) only reinforces those concerns about the pitching staff.
There are plenty of Braves fans who said the team should’ve picked up a pitcher during the offseason, but the only big acquisition this winter was Josh Donaldson. They left the pitching staff unchanged, losing Anibal Sanchez in free agency as well.
Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel remain available, with the latter being linked to the Braves in recent weeks. After the pitching staff’s rough start to the season, the front office may be swayed to add one of the two.