In the last two years, the Braves have taken left-handed college pitchers early in the draft. Two months ago it was Georgia southpaw Alex Wood. Last year Atlanta took FSU lefty Sean Gilmartin in the first round.
Both pitchers are doing very well, and when talking about potential arms for Atlanta next season, both Wood and Gilmartin must be in the conversation.
Gilmartin is closest, only because he's already in Triple-A. Gilmartin started this season in Double-A Mississippi and did very well. He was 5-8 in 20 starts, with a 3.54 ERA. Gilmartin allowed 111 hits in 119.1 innings, with only 26 walks and 86 strikeouts.
In three starts so far in AAA, Gilmartin is 1-1 with the same exact ERA - 3.54. He's allowed 19 hits in 20.1 innings, with eight walks and eight strikeouts. Overall, that's 139.2 innings for Gilmartin, with probably three more starts left in the minor league season.
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So Gilmartin will surpass 150 innings in his first full minor league season. That's a very good start to his professional career. Expect Gilmartin to be in big league camp next spring, and even though he'll likely start back out in Gwinnett, he'll be on the cusp of the major leagues and could see time in Atlanta in 2013.
Wood is likely taking the same track Gilmartin took when he started his minor league time a year ago. Wood has made 10 starts in Rome, which is Low-A. He's 3-2 with a 1.38 ERA, with 25 hits allowed in 39 innings, only nine walks and 36 strikeouts.
The Braves will probably send Wood to the Arizona Fall League, as they did with Gilmartin last year. Then, it's also possible Wood could see some time in big league camp next spring, and like Gilmartin did this year, start the 2013 season in Double-A Mississippi.
Gilmartin just turned 22 years old three months ago. Wood will be 22 next January 12. So both of these pitchers are a bit older, which means their timetables are different compared to a high school draft pick. They are on a faster track, and their success so far puts them in the conversation for the Braves future pitching staff.
The Braves have a full rotation already, even for next year. They can pick up the 2013 options of Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm. Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor and Kris Medlen will still be under control. It’s easy to assume the Braves would want veteran Ben Sheets back, considering his success this season. Then you have Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, two talented young pitchers, in Triple-A.
But don’t forget about Sean Gilmartin and Alex Wood. We might see them in Atlanta next season if they continue to develop well and show they are ready for better competition in the minor leagues.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at www.foxsports1670.com . Follow Bill on twitter @BillShanks and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .