As the Braves continue through spring training, the race for a fifth starter behind Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Kevin Gausman and Julio Teheran is under way. Braves beat reporter Gabriel Burns has provided a routine handicap of the race for the final spot.
The rankings will fluctuate as circumstances change, be that because of performance, injury or the team’s thinking.
Here’s how the pitchers stack up March 12:
1. Kyle Wright
Wright turned in another impressive showing Monday, pitching three innings against the Pirates. He tossed three scoreless frames, but left without registering an out in the fourth after a couple of singles and a hit by pitch.
He’s proved to be perhaps even more advanced than expected. If he maintains this production over the next couple of weeks, he should be in the rotation. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged Wright as a pleasant surprise Monday.
2. Touki Toussaint
Toussaint entered camp the favorite for the job. He posted his best performance Monday, pitching four scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out four and perhaps most importantly walking none.
It was the second consecutive promising outing for Toussaint. If he strings together another pair of solid appearances, he should be on the big-league club in some capacity.
3. Max Fried
Fried looked excellent against the Phillies on Friday night, pitching 3-2/3 innings, allowing one run and striking out four. It’s up in the air if he starts the season in the majors, but he’ll factor in the Braves’ immediate plans. He might currently be a more reliable option than Toussaint, which could get him early looks as a starter, especially given the health worries with the Braves’ rotation locks.
4. Bryse Wilson
Wilson pitched four scoreless, one-hit innings against the Cardinals on Tuesday. He’s looked poised all spring, resulting in three scoreless outings in four opportunities. He likely will open the season in Triple-A, but he’ll be one of the first names called when the Braves need help. Keep an eye on his change-up, which he says is making the biggest difference.
A healthy Soroka could’ve been the clear front-runner for the job, but his shoulder hasn’t cooperated. He’s working his way back and hopes to pitch in games toward the end of spring training. It goes without saying, but the Braves do expect him to play an important role this season.
The Marlins beat up on Allard, collecting three hits — including a Peter O’Brien grand slam — that prevented him from finishing his lone frame Sunday. Allard sat in the low 90s, and his command/stuff hasn’t proved enough to make up for that lacking velocity. He was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday.
Gohara has yet to pitch in a game this spring. He was optioned to minor-league camp Friday as he tries to get healthy. His arm talent is intriguing enough to retain hope, but he’s a complete wild card at this time.
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