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FanGraphs released their starting rotation rankings ahead of the 2021 season, and Atlanta Braves fans won’t be pleased with the list.
The Atlanta Braves are a couple of weeks away from the start of the 2021 regular season, where they hope to end it as World Series champions. The team managed to re-sign Marcell Ozuna and added some arms to their starting rotation.
Speaking of rotations, FanGraphs released their latest list ranking the top starting rotations in MLB heading into the season. The San Diego Padres ranked as the best, and understandably so, after acquiring Blake Snell, Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove in trades this offseason. But where did the Braves rank? Well, they were listed as the ninth-best rotation in the league, right behind the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies.
Braves: If healthy, Atlanta’s rotation could be one of the best in the league
The Braves ranking behind the Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, New York Mets and Washington Nationals is at least understandable. But placing Atlanta behind Cincinnati and Philadelphia are no doubt going to leave the Braves fan base frustrated.
Atlanta walks into the 2021 season with a rotation consisting of Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson and Drew Smyly.
Fried is coming off a career year with the Braves, as he recorded a 7-0 win-loss record, a 2.25 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 11 stars (56.0 innings).
Then, there is the addition of Morton. Like the Braves did with Cole Hamels last year, they opted to sign Morton to a one-year contract. Last season was a bit of a downer for Morton, as he dealt with right shoulder inflammation back in August. Yet, he did show up in the postseason for the Tampa Bay Rays, as he recorded a 3-1 record, 2.70 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in four postseason starts.
Soroka has impressed ever since he made his major league debut in 2018, but his 2020 campaign ended after he tore his Achilles tendon while trying to cover first base in a game against the Mets. While he is slated to pitch in 2021, it is unknown when that will actually take place. Plus, will he be able to return to form?
Anderson made his debut for the Braves last season, and he impressed out of the gate. He logged a 1.95 ERA and 3-2 record in six starts. But in the postseason, Anderson was virtually un-hittable. Through four playoff starts (2-0 record), Anderson recorded a 0.96 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 24 strikeouts over 18.2 innings of work. Oh, and he only surrendered 11 hits total.
Smyly had a strong campaign with the San Francisco Giants in 2020, where he struck out 42 batters over 26.1 innings of work and accumulated a 3.42 ERA in seven starts. With Atlanta, he serves as a solid back of the rotation arm.
So what do you think — were the Braves disrespected in these rankings? Or, was it justified?