Thursday, March 16, 2017

Braves Spring Training: RA Dickey Uh-Ohs

So one of things I'm never going to do during Spring Training is panic. That's a given. Things change and pitchers develop as they go along through the process. However, we're essentially 2 weeks away from Spring Training ending, and the pitching situation isn't exactly gelling like I would have hoped.

Here's the intended starting rotation that I think everyone from the Braves organization wanted going into the season: Julio Teheran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, RA Dickey, and SOME GUY. They honestly thought they had the first four veterans in the bag and that they would be ready to go. They also thought that somebody from the plethora of young arms would challenge for a final spot, or maybe two spots if a veteran guy struggled.

There's a problem right now. RA Dickey looks like a potential disaster out there in training. He's pitched in 3 starts for 9+ innings, given up 15 hits and 13 runs. The only reason his ERA isn't astronomical is that 5 of those 13 runs were unearned. They still count against you in the scorebook though. Bartolo Colon is also struggling, but only in one outing out of his four starts. He got lit up for 8 hits and 5 runs in 3 innings against the Pirates. However, I'm less concerned about Colon because he's going to have those types of screwups at this juncture. When he's on his fine, and about every 4th game you can expect an implosion.

What concerns me more about RA Dickey is I've had several older fans and old-time baseball people specifically tell me that he doesn't look good. These are people I know for a fact don't panic about stuff, so when they tell me bad news, it's legitimately bad and not an overreaction. 

The good news is that Garcia looks fine, and Teheran is your Ace so nobody is worried about him. Also, Mike Foltynewicz seems like he's positioned to be SOME GUY in the rotation. The issue is what happens if RA Dickey isn't the guy?

People thought it was going to be Aaron Blair, but he's been so bad at spring training he got demoted back down to the Minors level. As a result, Lucas Sims got the only other start in spring by a pitcher I haven't listed, and that was on March 10th. He gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in 3 innings, hardly an inspiring performance, but it's one start.

The part that unnerves me about the situation is that for all the talk about pitching prospects I honestly don't see a rush to step into that starting rotation role right now. Wisler has been getting crushed in training with an ERA over 8.00, Sean Newcomb has only pitched for 3 innings, and nobody else seems to be getting stretched out to start. We're basically betting right now on RA getting it together because the other young guys don't look ready. That's a problem for the long term because if they aren't ready yet, they better figure it out fast since we're on a lot of short term pitching deals in 2017.


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