Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos appeared on High Heat with Chris Russo and discussed the incredible potential and depth of the starting rotation in 2023.
The Atlanta Braves enter the 2023 season with at least six legit options to for the starting rotation. General Manager Alex Anthopoulos appeared on High Heat to discuss the potential of the rotation and even the possibility of a six-man carousel, if necessary.
Max Fried is the established ace. Kyle Wright won 21 games in a breakout campaign. Charlie Morton finished fifth in the NL in strikeouts, despite a rocky start. Spencer Strider had an unbelievable rookie year in which he set multiple records, including the most strikeouts in a game for a Braves’ starting pitcher.
Entering a season with the top four spots in the rotation locked down like that is a real luxury.
Who are the frontrunners for the fifth spot in the Braves rotation?
Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka are the frontrunners for the fifth spot in the rotation. When you look at some of the bullet points on the resumes of their young careers, it’s impressive and encouraging for the Braves to have these two competing for the fifth spot.
Ian Anderson started and won Game 2 of the 2020 NLDS.
Mike Soroka’s only full season was in 2019. That year, he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in Cy Young voting. He entered the 2020 season as the undisputed ace of the Atlanta Braves.
If either one of these guys can regain any semblance of their previous forms, the Braves have the potential to post a top-to-bottom pitching staff completely capable of going toe-to-toe with the best the league has to offer.
Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka will compete for the fifth spot in the rotation. Applying additional pressure to Anderson and Soroka, Kolby Allard and Bryce Elder are expected to get a serious look, as well.
If both Soroka and Anderson give the Braves reason to believe they are going to perform up to their abilities, Anthopoulos said they could go with a six-man rotation.
After tearing his Achilles twice, Soroka has a lot of rust to shake off. He did get a few Triple-A starts last season, but this is his first normal spring training in a couple of years. If Allard or Elder look “awesome” (as Anthopoulos said) it wouldn’t be a shock to see one of them get a few starts in an early six-man rotation until someone can grab ahold of the job.
The potential of a six-man rotation jumps off the paper.
- Max Fried
- Kyle Wright
- Spencer Strider
- Charlie Morton
- Mike Soroka
- Ian Anderson
The Braves have the flexibility to ride the hot hands as the rotation settles in. All four of the candidates for the fifth spot have options remaining.
You can never have enough starting pitching. Somebody’s going to get a blister or an ailment of some sort along the way. Starting pitching depth is so very important. As we’ve all seen in the past, losing a reliable starter means losing 20% of your rotation. Having insurance on your starting pitching is vital for a team that hopes to contend.
Who do you think will win the fifth spot? Will Soroka be able to return to form? Would a six-man rotation be the best route for the Braves in 2023? Let us know in the comments.