When it comes to rotation depth, a year can make a difference!

FILE – Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Championship Series Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP File Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – When it comes to rotation depth, it’s amazing the difference a year can make. This time last spring, the Braves were evaluating options like Felix Hernandez and Sean Newcomb for roles in the starting staff. This year, it’s youngsters like Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson getting their chance to show they can build on last years success. While Anderson all but solidified a spot in the rotation based on what he did a year ago, guys like Wright and Wilson are looking to prove they’re another year along in their development, ready to take that next step.

For Wilson, so far so good. The 23 year old righty was solid on Monday afternoon, holding the Twins to five hits over four scoreless frames. Noticeably absent on Wilson’s line was the strikeouts. Wilson didn’t punch a single batter out. Instead, he allowed the Minnesota offense to put the ball in play, trusting the defense behind him. That’s a big hurdle for young pitchers to overcome, and Wilson has seemed to figure out he doesn’t need to try and throw the ball a hundred miles an hour to get hitters at this level out. Through three starts in Grapefruit League action, Wilson has allowed a total of two earned runs over his first nine innings of work. Meanwhile, it’s Kyle Wright’s turn today to try and feed off the success his fellow right hander had yesterday.

With still two weeks to go in camp, it’s still a tossup for who earns that last spot in the rotation until Mike Soroka is healthy. The first time through the rotation, only four starters will be needed with an off day on April 2. And as far as Soroka is concerned, we still don’t have a definitive timeline on when he could be ready to make his regular season debut. So, whomever ends up emerging as the fifth starter will likely get at least a few starts. As Brian Snitker said this morning, this club is facing a number of very difficult decisions in the coming weeks on how to round out the bench, bullpen and starting rotation. But, believe me, that’s a great problem to have this time of year.

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

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