This will be my last article until after Christmas. As much as I love writing and the Atlanta Braves, we all need rest. My family will start arriving tomorrow and they take precedence over baseball.
The Braves have 25 pitchers waiting to earn their spot on the Braves lineup in 2017. There are starting pitchers, closing pitchers, and middle relief pitchers all wanting to make the roster. The Braves also have plenty of pitchers waiting for their call up single A and double AA. The starting rotation looks to be set with Julio Teheran Mike Foltynewicz, Bartolo Colon, R.A. Dickey, but it’s that 5th starting pitching spot that isn’t decided. There are names in the Braves organization that will sound familiar to fans including Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair, and Jacob Lindgren. There will be other names that will becoming very familiar to Braves fans in 2017. Mauricio Cabrera, Josh Collmenter, and Paco Rodriguez. There are other names also I’m just highlighting some of the pitchers I’ve been following playing in the Australian League and playing baseball in warmer climates all over the world.
The World Series in 2016 showed me how important bullpen relief is to all teams in baseball. Situational pitching changes during game 7 of the World Series made me question how some coaches and managers might be overly cautious. I understand that it was all or nothing in game 7 but using closing pitchers to pitch to the bottom of the order made me question the “genius” of Joe Madden but he has a World Series ring and i have a stylist for writing.
The starting pitching will be wonderful in Atlanta and Jim Johnson as the 9th inning closer is the shut down pitcher I want to see. As good as the Braves closers have been it’s important to remember that Johnson will not be automatic. Neither was Craig Kimbrell, John Smoltz or Trevor Hoffman. Getting Johnson the ball for the final 3 outs will be a relief for me, but the game is never over until the third out is made. Maybe I’m too paranoid, when I mailed my girlfriend’s Christmas present I was second guessing she’d like her present or if I could have gotten her something else. There’s no need to panic with my girlfriend or when Jim Johnson takes the mound in the 9th inning. I wish I could check myself but that’s my personality.
The Braves bullpen will be fantastic and there will be pitchers in AAA Gwinnett anxiously waiting for their call up to the majors. With shut down pitching and a dominating offense the 2017 Atlanta Braves will be very competitive. Good thing the excitement of the holidays is here to keep my mind occupied. High school baseball starts in February and that will suffice until the Spring training games start for the Braves. Love God, love family, love baseball, and love the Braves. Merry Christmas! GO BRAVES!!!!!