5 things Braves: Comparing starting 5’s

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves pitcher Ian Anderson comments on his success from the shortened 60-game, 2020 season and how that will propel him in 2021.

Credit: Atlanta Braves

N.L. East teams bulked up, adding bats and arms, to challenge Atlanta as it guns for a fourth-straight division title.

The Braves bolstered a thin rotation by signing veterans Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly to one-year contracts. How are the division’s starting groups shaping up and how did they fare last season:

Braves

The rotation could be one of baseball’s best when Mike Soroka (23, 0-1, 3.95 ERA) — a 13-game winner and All-Star in 2019 who is likely to begin the season on the injured list — returns from a torn Achilles suffered last season.

  • Max Fried, 27, LHP - 7-0, 2.25 ERA
  • Charlie Morton, 37, RHP - 2-2, 4.74 with Rays; 3-1, 2.70 in postseason
  • Ian Anderson, 22, RHP - 3-2, 1.95 (Anderson became the sixth-youngest pitcher to start a Game 7 in MLB postseason history)
  • Drew Smyly, 31, LHP - 0-1, 3.42 with Giants
  • Kyle Wright, 25, RHP - 2-4, 5.21

Nationals

Aging rotation still has some names to contend with.

  • Max Scherzer, 36, RHP - 5-4, 3.74 ERA, 92 Ks, 67-1/3 innings
  • Patrick Corbin, 31, LHP - 2-7, 4.66
  • Stephen Strasburg, 32, RHP - 18-6, 3.32 in 2019 (season-ending surgery after 5 innings in 2020)
  • Jon Lester, 37, LHP (3-3, 5.16 with Cubs),
  • Joe Ross, 28, RHP - 4-4, 5.48 in 2019 (opted out in 2020)

Marlins

Miami fields a group of eight potential starters — all 26 or younger.

  • Sandy Alcantara, 25, RHP - 3-2, 3.00 ERA
  • Pablo Lopez, 25 RHP - 6-4, 3.61, 59 Ks
  • Elieser Hernandez, 26 - 1-0, 3.16 in 6 starts
  • Sixto Sanchez, 22 RHP - 3-2, 3.46
  • Trevor Rogers, 23, LHP - 1-2, 6.11 in 7 starts

Mets

Following a flurry of moves, New York has 18 newcomers on the 40-man roster. And still, the rotation starts with some missing pieces. Noah Syndergaard won’t return from Tommy John surgery until June, and acquired Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco will be sidelined for a while after tearing his right hamstring in spring training. David Peterson (6-2, 3.44), Joey Lucchesi (0-1, 7.94) and Jordan Yamamoto (0-1, 18.26) are competing for a fifth spot.

  • Jacob deGrom, 33 , RHP - 4-2, 2.38 ERA, NL-high 104 Ks, 18 BBs, 68 IP
  • Marcus Stroman, 30, RHP - did not pitch last season; 10-13, 3.22, 184 1/3 IP with Blue Jays and Mets in 2019
  • Carlos Carrasco, 34, RHP - 3-4, 2.91, 82 Ks, 68 IP for Cleveland (will miss start of season with injury)
  • Taijuan Walker, 28, RHP - 4-3, 2.70 with Seattle and Toronto

Phillies

Philadelphia’s strength is its deep batting order, but it carries a formidable 1-2 punch atop the rotation.

  • Aaron Nola, 28, RHP - 5-5, 3.28 ERA, 96 Ks in 71-1/3 IP
  • Zack Wheeler, 31, RHP - 4-2, 2.92
  • Zach Eflin, 27, RHP - 4-2, 3.97
  • Chase Anderson, 33, RHP - 1-2, 7.22 for Toronto
  • Matt Moore, 32, LHP - 6-3, 2.65 in Japan

The Braves open the season April 1 at Philadelphia.