Thursday night I asked my Twitter followers a question.
Who do you think will be in Atlanta’s 2019 starting rotation?
There were 41 people who responded. Collectively, they believe the rotation that season will include Sean Newcomb, Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, Kyle Wright and Mike Foltynewicz.
Here are the vote totals:
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Sean Newcomb – 36
Mike Soroka – 36
Kolby Allard – 30
Kyle Wright – 24
Mike Foltynewicz – 21
Patrick Weigel – 17
New Veteran Pitcher – 12
Julio Teheran – 11
Max Fried – 6
Luis Gohara – 4
Lucas Sims – 3
Ian Anderson – 2
Matt Withrow – 1
With the addition of Wright, last Monday’s first round pick for the Braves, it gives them another top-level, highly-rated pitching prospect. For fans to be able to mention 13 different pitchers tells you the depth the Braves now enjoy in the organization.
Perhaps the most interesting result is the high percentage for Newcomb, who has made only two starts in Atlanta. Would he have been mentioned by as many fans if the poll had been conducted two weeks ago, before he came up from Triple-A?
Another interesting result is the popularity of Weigel, who is now in Triple-A Gwinnett. Weigel could be next in line for a rotation spot, as he has done very well this season at two levels (6-1, 3.24 ERA in 14 starts).
It’s obvious most Braves fans who participated in the poll believe veteran Teheran could be traded. Fans may believe there will simply be better options than Teheran knocking on the door before opening day 2019.
My prediction: Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, Kyle Wright, Max Fried and Zach Greinke.
Okay, just kidding on Greinke. Well, hold on, why not? They need a veteran in there somewhere. Let Arizona eat a ton of money and the Braves would likely take him.
This is not an easy answer, since you leave a lot of people out. Just think… if those are the four from the list that stick in the rotation, look at the list of the ones who could be traded – Newcomb, Teheran, Foltynewicz, Weigel and Gohoara – just to name a few, with others behind him who were not even listed.
Believe me, I have great confidence in Newcomb and Foltynewicz. In fact, Folty is a favorite. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be there. But there will be a big trade at some point with a veteran brought in, perhaps even someone like Greinke.
If so, someone must go. And of course, the Braves could use the excess pitching to fill needs at third base or at catcher in the next 18 months.
If you’d like to add your best guess for which five pitchers will make up the 2019 rotation, please leave the answer in our Facebook page where this article is posted or on twitter @billshanks.
Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on "Middle Georgia’s ESPN" – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.