March 4th, 2021 –
BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Five games into the Spring session, there have been some really encouraging signs for the three-time defending NL East Champs. So far, the starting rotation has looked solid, though we have yet to see Charlie Morton or Max Fried get on the bump. Fried was scheduled to start tomorrow in North Port, but will be pushed back a few days after he was possibly exposed to COVID-19. After Thursday’s game, Brian Snitker said the club was going to give him a few days, just to play things safe, but as of now, Fried had not tested positive. We’ll likely get our first glimpse of Charlie Morton over the weekend as well.
As for others we haven’t seen to this point, Freddie Freeman is set to make his 2021 Grapefruit League debut on Friday afternoon in North Port. Freeman had been delayed slightly at the onset of camp as he and his wife Chelsea welcomed their two sons recently.
Thursday, Bryse Wilson had a strong start to his 2021 campaign, tossing two scoreless frames against the Pirates in Bradenton. Wilson gave up a single in the first inning, and advanced the runner to scoring position on a throwing error. However, Wilson escaped damage with three fly outs and got out of a pair of innings unscathed. Wilson, the 23 year old who logged some big innings for the Braves in the NLCS last year, said he came to camp with a lot of momentum and confidence on his side, something he will need as he tries to earn a spot in either the rotation or Atlanta pen to start the season. As for how teams could utilize their bullpens in the first month of the season, I’d be surprised to see starters go more than five, maybe six innings, especially in colder weather climates. Depth will be crucial for all 30 clubs when it comes to arms, but perhaps even more important in the first weeks of the season, given the fact pitchers are coming off much shorter workloads than their accustomed to with the 60 game sprint last year.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.