Tommy Hanson gets the honor of starting on opening day. Jurrjens is up next, as the #2 guy. And Jair gets the home opener, which is a honor too. Fredi has the lefty Mike Minor in the 3 slot. Beachy is set to go, in the 4th spot.
So, it'll be Hanson, Jurrjens, Minor and Beachy, until Hudson returns. That's a deep and solid rotation. Minor & Beachy are young guns taking the next step. Hanson & Jurrjens were two of the top pitchers in the N.L. last season, at the mid-way point. Both are close to multi-year deals, if they can put a full season together. Hudson should come back strong. It's a solid group.
As far as the 5th spot goes...Fredi is waiting to announce that. Delgado and Teheran have competed for that spot. Both have had good and some rough moments this spring. Julio's issue was keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and in the ballpark. And when he did, Julio was dominant.
Delgado or Teheran would get 2-3 starts, before Hudson is ready. So, it looks like both are destined for AAA most of this season. Especially, with the Braves signing Livan Hernandez to spot start.
Medlen is correctly slotted to get some tough outs in the 7th & 8th innings, working out of the bullpen. This allows Venters and O'Flaherty to get some days off this season.
Sure hope Tommy Hanson takes this opportunity and runs with it. Establishes himself as a top of the rotation dude. In his 3 big league seasons, Hanson has a 3.28 ERA. That's to be respected. He's tweeked his wind-up, trying to lessen the torque on his right shoulder. That's also quickened up his release, which should help hold runners better. His stuff has always been nasty. Time to deliver, Tommy! Go get'em.
Jurrjens put together two quality starts, at the end of camp. He's trending up, hopefully. Can the knee hold up? That's the big question. McCann told me that Jurrjens success rides on the velocity of his fastball. Need it to be sitting in the low 90's, in order to set up his off-speed stuff. Some believe Jair's knee injury will prevent him from throwing that hard again. Anyway, this is a huge season for Jair, with free agency looming.
Minor just looks to me like he's turned the corner. Mike is throwing hard and working the fastball on both sides of the plate. His change is effective. Now he can throw the breaking ball for a strike, or bury it out of the zone. He's comfortable and confident. Maybe he takes off this season.
Beachy is a quality guy. Good stuff. He's focused on getting outs earlier in at-bats...trying to go deeper into the game. We should see the best of what Brandon has to offer this season.
Is this the best rotation in the N.L. East? Probably not. But it's solid and it's deep. It'll give the Braves a chance to win every day.