Although falling short in the NLCS, the Atlanta Braves showed tons of promise within their starting rotation. Expected to be fully healthy and ready for the 2021 season, the young and energized Braves’ rotation will be firing on all cylinders. With an array of weapons from last season in addition to making key moves this off-season, Atlanta will be better than ever on the mound in 2021.
Reaching their full stride, the one-two punch of Max Fried and Mike Soroka will surprise many fans through the future of their careers. Placing top-five in the NL Cy Young race last season, Fried will be a quintessential ace in Atlanta for a long time to come. In 11 starts, Fried finished 7-0 with 50 strikeouts in 56.0 IP. Taking home a Gold Glove on the mound, there wasn’t much more you could ask from Fried. Entering his fifth season and improving each year, Fried will look to lead Atlanta into a deep playoff run along with eyes on his own hardware, a Cy Young award.
In just his second season in the big leagues, Mike Soroka made an immediate presence in the rotation. Bringing a strong 6-foot-5 dominance to the mound, Soroka placed second in the Rookie of the Year race and sixth in the Cy Young race in his 2019 rookie season. As he finished 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA, Soroka entered the big leagues with vengeance. Entering the 2020 season with confidence, Soroka only managed to make three starts as he suffered a season-ending torn achilles. As his focus is set on a full recovery prior to Opening Day in April, Soroka will look to repeat his rookie dominance under the bright lights. When the duo of Fried and Soroka connect, nothing can stop them.
Rising star Ian Anderson will most likely be the number three starter in the electric Atlanta rotation. With only six starts in one season of play, Anderson certainly impressed. Finishing top-ten in Rookie of the Year voting last season, the right-hander from Clifton Park, New York dazzled opposing lineups. Concluding his rookie campaign with a 3-2 record with a 1.95 ERA under his belt, Anderson did his part in an injury-filled Braves’ rotation. As he was placed into high-leverage situations throughout the season, Anderson trusted his mechanics and got the job done at hand. With a high-ceiling in the league, Ian Anderson will be a threat in the National League for a long time to come. As the 2021 season approaches, expect Anderson to further his skillset on the mound as he will be an easy number three starter.
Former Braves star Charlie Morton makes his return to Gate City as he signs a one-year, $15 million deal this off-season. Drafted in the third round of the 2002 draft by the Braves, Morton’s time in Atlanta was limited to only a year. Thirteen years later, Morton is set to make his return with hopes in leading the team to a World Series title run. A contributing piece into the 2020 Rays World Series run, Morton struck out 42 and finished in a 2-2 record in nine starts through the shortened season. Bringing a veteran’s presence into the youth-filled Atlanta rotation, Morton will add his experience and expertise into the World Series contending ball club.
Rounding out the rotation, fourth-year starter Kyle Wright will look to make an impact. Wright, entering his age 25 season, has had a shaky past battling a lack of accuracy on the mound. In 2019 and 2020, Wright had a combined 2-7 record with an ERA average of 6.95 in 57.2 total innings. The potential is certainly in sight for the Vanderbilt alum, as he looks to bounce back in the 2021 season. If Wright can shift his gears onto the right tracks, the Braves will have no complaints as they would have a dominating rotation for the foreseeable future.
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