Before Brandon Beachy had been pushed back with a bit of elbow soreness after his final rehab start, I posted my thoughts at Talking Chop on how the Braves would manage their rotation with the impending return of one of their best starting pitchers.
Until yesterday, the Braves had only used their original five starting pitchers that they started the year with. And even then, they only used Alex Wood because they were playing six games in five days. All six starters are worthwhile to own in fantasy if they are in the rotation, so anyone who owns these guys needs to be paying attention to this situation.
At this point, there is no chance that Mike Minor is removed from the rotation unless he gets injured. He is the only guy I would say with 100 percent certainty is safe. Tim Hudson is probably the next safest considering how long his tenure with the Braves has been. Paul Maholm is an impending free agent but has been pretty much exactly the guy they were trying to trade for last season when they acquired him – a standard middle of the rotation arm with a mid 3’s ERA. Kris Medlen has a 2.96 ERA but does have previous bullpen experience and the Braves are missing their top two set up men. Lastly, Julio Teheran has had a very impressive rookie year that has seen his command improve dramatically.
There is a difficult decision to be made here one way or the other. My mindset the whole year was that it would figure itself out by the time Beachy was ready, that someone would get hurt or pitch poor enough to deserve to be removed from the rotation. Fortunately for the Braves this has not happened, but it creates a good amount if uncertainty for fantasy owners. Unfortunately, even as someone who follows the team as closely as I do, it is difficult to pinpoint how the Braves plan to act.
In terms of the likelihood of being removed from the rotation I would say it is currently Teheran > Medlen > Maholm > Hudson > Minor. There is also, and it is actually becoming increasingly possible in my opinion, a chance that Beachy is inserted into the bullpen at the outset of the season. There is reason to be concerned if you own Teheran, Medlen, or Beachy. Considering Medlen’s peripherals and his ERA, it is not a bad time to try and move him if the prospective owner expects him to remain in the rotation. The same could be true for Teheran, but only in single season leagues. I wish I had more insight, but this is one of the tougher decisions the team will face all year and they have not shown their hand thus far.
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