Several Reasons Atlanta Braves Fans Should Watch Gwinnett Stripers This Week

Atlanta Braves Photo Day
Atlanta Braves Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves emerged from spring training with a totally different outcome at the back end of the rotation than anyone anticipated. Michael Soroka and Ian Anderson were expected to compete for the fifth spot behind Fried, Strider, Wright, and Morton. Instead, Soroka was hampered by a hamstring and Anderson proved he still needed to work on his breaking ball to make him a true three-pitch threat. Bryce Elder's name was also discussed as a possibility for the fifth spot, but Anderson and Elder were both optioned to Gwinnett.

As you probably know already, prospects Dylan Dodd and Jared Shuster were pegged to cover the first couple of starts that Wright/Soroka will miss while they finish ramping up in Gwinnett. If you can't tell yet, all signs in this article are pointing toward Gwinnett.

The Gwinnett Stripers are the Atlanta Braves Triple-A affiliate. MLB.TV is airing minor league games this season so you will be able watch an exciting week for the Stripers!

Big Names Booked in Rotation for Gwinnett's First Week

Last night, Bryce Elder gave up four earned runs over six innings for Gwinnett against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Elder walked one and struck out four in the 8-5 victory. This could have been a tune-up for Elder to start in place of Max Fried next week.

This week the Stripers will roll out more exciting starters for Braves fans to keep an eye on. Here is the projected rotation to begin the season. This is pending any changes that may be necessary with Fried likely missing a start next week.

Ian Anderson will look to build his repertoire in preparation for his glorious return to the major leagues. We've seen what his deadly changeup can do to major league hitters but as suspected, his two-pitch offering wasn't enough in the long run. We'll be watching Ian Anderson continue his progress on Sunday.

Michael Soroka will assume the bump on Tuesday. Soroka finished second in ROY voting in 2019 and was even a consideration for the Cy Young Award. Just a couple of seasons ago, Soroka was the undisputed ace of the staff. He now finds himself trying to prove he is capable of holding down the final spot in the rotation.

Why is it important for Soroka to return to form for the Atlanta Braves?

Should Soroka recapture the form that led him to a 2.68 ERA in 2019, the Braves will add to what may already be the best rotation in baseball. This would theoretically give the Braves five guys who could be ones or twos on any roster.

Some pundits are picking Fried to win the NL Cy Young this season. Nobody would be surprised if Spencer Strider emerged as a Cy Young candidate this year after he set multiple records as a rookie flame thrower. Kyle Wright led the leage in wins in 2022. Charlie Morton finished fith in the NL in strikeouts. If the Braves get the luxury of adding a healthy Soroka to the mix, the Braves couldn't as for a better starting rotation from top to bottom.

That's why fans should be paying attention when Soroka takes the mound for Gwinnett. We hope he dominates and hope he's not there very long!

Finally, Kyle Wright will likely make a couple of starts to work through shoulder inflammation that caused the Braves to place him on the 15-day IL to begin the season.

Atlanta Braves Bats to Watch in Gwinnett This Week

It isn't just the pitching that should draw your eyeballs to the TV screens this week! The Braves have re-signed fan favorite Charlie Culberson and made him a part of the Gwinnett Stripers effective yesterday. Could we see Charlie Culberson in the big leagues this year? Of course, there is a scenario where Culberson gets called up. There are a few scenarios I can envision. However, none of those hypotheticals matter if Culberson can't prove he's still got the goods. He will get his chance to prove he is major-league-worthy in Gwinnett.

Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake both got off to interesting starts last night in Gwinnett. Shewmake will continue to try and prove he's more than just a glove. Last night he began his season with four straight strikeouts before smashing a game-winning three-run homer.

Meanwhile, Grissom walked twice and went 1-3 with three runs scored. Grissom played SS and hit second while Shewmake played 2B and hit third for the Stripers. Watch Gwinnett to track Grissom and Shewmake's progress!

You can catch other stars of the spring in Gwinnett this week as Eli White, Jordan Luplow, Justin Dean, and other hope to stay hot in Gwinnett!