Phillies or Braves: Who has the better rotation after Atlanta's Chris Sale trade?

The Braves made a big trade to bring in Chris Sale, but does that mean the division rival has a better rotation than the Phillies?

Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One
Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Cristopher Sánchez vs Bryce Elder

Sánchez: 1.9 projected 2024 fWAR
Elder: 1.2 projected 2024 fWAR

While both teams rely on veteran pitching in their fourth rotation spot, they similarly will be relying on young guns in their fifth spot. Cristopher Sánchez has made a total of 41 starts over three years, with his rookie year being 2022. Bryce Elder has also made the exact same number of starts but over just two years and his rookie year was also 2022.

In 2023, Elder made 31 starts and pitched to a 3.81 ERA, 4.42 FIP, and 1.277 WHIP. In his first full season, he was elected to the All-Star game and was a major contributor to Atlanta's success. At just 24 years old, the Braves will certainly look for him to take the next step and become a perennial All-Star. Knowing the Braves, he’ll probably sign a team-friendly, long-term deal.

Sanchez started the 2023 season in Triple-A but was called up originally as a spot starter. Over 19 games (18 starts), he ended the season with a 3.44 ERA and 1.099 WHIP. He was such an unexpected bright spot for the team that they opted to not take a big swing at the trade deadline to upgrade the starting rotation.

At the moment, the Phillies are giving the 27-year-old lefty an opportunity at the fifth starter spot and hope he grabs the job and doesn’t let go.

These teams match up very closely across the board and it’s no different for the starting pitching. It’s going to be fun to watch it play out over the course of the season. Both teams may not even be finished adding to their rotations as the Phillies have been rumored to be looking into the likes of Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. Only time will tell which one of these rotations will push their team to the next level.

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