8 Braves players who need to step up with Max Fried on the injured list
By Steven Teal
Atlanta Braves fans were hit with unexpected news on Tuesday morning. Max Fried has been shut down due to a left forearm strain and was placed on the 15-day IL, backdated to May 6th. The Braves also recalled Danny Young from Gwinnett as a corresponding move. There was no indication that anything was wrong with Fried after his last start as his velocity was the same it had been all year.
After Sunday’s win against Baltimore, however, Brian Snitker stated that he wasn’t sure if Max would start on Wednesday or Friday. He also added that they were “working through things” and wouldn’t commit to Fried going to the IL at that time. That was our first hint that something may be wrong with Fried. An MRI didn’t reveal any concern with Fried’s elbow or anything like that.
It’s hard to know how long Fried will be out of commission but we can safely assume he won’t be throwing for a couple of weeks and will need to build back up so optimistically; it could be a couple of months before he takes the mound for Atlanta again.
It would be one thing if Atlanta had to find a way to have a place holder for Max until he returns but they also have Kyle Wright on the IL as well. Those are two very important rotation spots that need coverage and is not a great place to be in. Here is who needs to step up with Fried on a shelf.
There are options available to fill these spots such as Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster. However, they’re both young and learning to pitch at the MLB level. That’s not typically a recipe for success to send out your starter and hoping for the best. You want confidence that they will give you an opportunity to win each game.
Michael Soroka is still working his way back to the majors and has shown mixed results at Triple-A Gwinnett. He currenlty has a 5.23 ERA through five starts with the Stripers. While he’s proven in the past that he can handle pitching on the biggest stage, I imagine the team will want to be careful with rushing him back.
Most likely we will see Shuster take the mound for the Braves on Wednesday since Dodd was just optioned back to Triple-A after making a spot start for Atlanta. Dodd looked much better against the Marlins in that start and I’d expect him to get some chances to prove he’s ready to pitch at this level.
The Braves need Shuster and Dodd to step up and be the pitchers that they were in Spring Training. They earned a spot in the rotation for pitching so well this Spring so we know they have the capability. The likelihood of Atlanta finding a suitable pitching replacement on the trade market this soon is very low.