3 reasons the Braves should use a six-man rotation and 2 reasons they shouldn't

There's been a lot of talk about who the Braves' fifth starter will be, but have fans considered who the sixth starter could be?

Atlanta Braves Photo Day
Atlanta Braves Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next

2. It could lighten the load on players returning from injury

Although the jury's out on whether a six-man rotation can limit injuries going forward, the extra rest would benefit the the two lefties in the rotations, aforementioned Chris Sale and Max Fried.

It would be disingenuous to label Max Fried as "injury prone", but his 2023 was certainly injury-riddled. The lefty spent 16 days on the IL after straining his hamstring on Opening Day. Less than a month later, he went back on the IL with a forearm strain and missed nearly four months. He then went on one last IL trip to end the season but was back just in time for the NLDS.

Fried was certainly effective in the innings that he did pitch, achieving a 1.9 fWAR in less than 80 innings, That is nothing to scoff at – but whether he can stay healthy in what might be his final year with the club is certainly at the forefront of many minds.

Chris Sale, of course, hasn't had a healthy season since 2017 and the Braves are far more inclined to save his innings for the latter half of the season if given a choice.

Using six starters to begin the season could help limit the wear and tear on the two lefties and preserve them for a potential postseason run.

3. The Braves bullpen can handle the innings

One side effect of a six-man rotation is one less arm in the bullpen. For most teams, this could be a huge problem. For the Braves, it probably isn't.

ZiPS projects the bullpen to be worth roughly 5.0 WAR, and the first eight relievers including Reynaldo Lopez, who would be in the rotation in a six-man scenario, are projected to be at least league-average by ERA+, making it one of the deepest pens in the game.

Even with Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, and Pierce Johnson repping the back end of the bullpen, the Braves will still have Joe Jimenez, Aaron Bummer, Tyler Matzek, Dylan Lee, Ray Kerr, and Jackson Stephens as options to cover the middle innings (and early innings, if necessary).