The Atlanta Braves skipped Drew Smyly: other changes coming?

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher (?) Drew Smyly. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher (?) Drew Smyly. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton is still the warrior this team needs when going into the playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Who Pitches in October?

If you’re looking towards a playoff scenario, then it’s most likely that the Braves are hoping for the trio of Morton, Fried, and Anderson to lead the way, with some combination of Ynoa and Toussaint in support roles.

But before getting there, that means that the roster is now carrying two pitchers that have fallen out of favor:  Smyly and Josh Tomlin.

September 1st is right around the corner, and roster can expand by 2 additional slots… but carrying players who aren’t being used is still problematic.

Smyly’s case is different from that of Tomlin:  as Fred suggested over a week ago, it’s time to let Josh Tomlin go.

But Tomlin’s role — the ‘multi-inning/break glass in case of emergency/mop up’ guy should go to Smyly for the last month of the season.

We recently talked about the need to change Smyly’s role in these pages… it appears that the Braves may be heading toward that kind of a change… and for good reasons:

At this point, the numbers are speaking loudly about the best course of action:

  • If Smyly gets through a first inning unscathed, his ERAs in the 2nd-4th innings of work are 2.45, 3.68, and 4.50.  Overall:  3.82 for the first three innings of an outing.
  • After that… watch out:  innings 5 and 6 are both over 6.00, and innings 4-6 combined result in an ERA of 5.60.

Those aren’t the numbers supporting a major league starting pitcher who ‘eats innings’.  This is why both Ynoa and Toussaint are now getting ahead of Smyly in the rotation.

So the recommendation for September for the Atlanta Braves?

  • release Josh Tomlin
  • move Drew Smyly to his seat in the bullpen
  • bring up a third catcher — William Contreras
  • add a rotating player from Gwinnett depending on the ‘need of the day’.  Given 40-man roster considerations, the best candidates are likely Orlando Arcia or Johan Camargo for infield support.

But the primary message here is that Drew Smyly’s days as a member of the rotation … eh, while they may not be over… should be considered to be on life support.