March 17, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Kris Medlen (54) throws a pitch during the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Atlanta won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Why is Kris Medlen not in the rotation?


The title to this post is a fantastic question. Why is Kris Medlen not in the starting rotation? Well the answer is obvious right?

Delgado and No. 1 Braves prospect Julio Teheran struggled in their competition for the fifth-starter spot, but Delgado pitched better in his major league opportunities last season and had a 7.89 ERA to Teheran’s 9.37 this spring. Teheran and Gearrin were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Thanks DOB, now I know why. It is definitely smarter to give the guy with the 7.89 ERA than the one with the 9.37 ERA. If you don’t have any other options that makes perfect sense, but with the addition of Livan Hernandez(?) Kris Medlen seems like an obvious player to put in the 5th spot for a few weeks.

Now, DOB isn’t one to rag on Braves moves. He might question them but general he tries to give people an idea of why the team might be doing something instead of harassing them for moves others think of as questionable.

Generally I feel this way too, but this is one decision I just don’t understand. It has been fairly obvious this Spring that both Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran need some more time in AAA. Unfortunately it looks like they both need more work than any of us originally thought. Here are some Spring Training numbers to cheer you up:

  • Randall Delgado: IP- 21.2, K-23, BB-12, H-28, WHIP-1.85, AVG-.308, ERA-7.89
  • Julio Teheran: IP-16.1, K-10, BB-8, H-22, WHIP-1.84, AVG-.319, ERA-9.37

I bolded the guy who is going to be starting for us.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that these two are bad pitchers but they have not shown anyone they are capable of pitching in the big leagues yet and clearly need more work.

Kris Medlen has always been a solid back of the rotation starter when he has actually been used in the spot. Granted he is much better as a reliever but in this situation I would rather him start. A good starter is definitely more valuable to a club than a good reliever.

This is even more obvious when you also have the bullpen depth to afford the hit it will take without Medlen. We have Livan now, and regardless of what you think about him he is going to be in the pen. If you want thoughts on Livan, Jared and Fred have both offered them up. It’s not like we would have a huge hole in the bullpen with Meds gone. Both Yohan Flonde and Cory Gearrin deserved earned spots in the pen and because of the Livan signing only one could actually have it.

Having Medlen start for the first bit and keeping another young bullpen arm up with the team makes more sense to me, but I guess the team just sees Medlen as a valuable reliever—even if that contradicts the teams statements earlier this offseason about Medlen being prepped for the rotation.

Maybe you agree with me and maybe you don’t but the numbers pretty much speak for themselves:

  • Medlen Spring: IP-11, K-9, BB-1, H-6, WHIP-.64, AVG-.167, ERA-.82
  • Medlen MLB Career (18 GS): IP-177.2, K/9-7.95, BB/9-2.58, FIP-3.58, WHIP-1.27, AVG-.254, ERA-3.85

I bolded the guy who isn’t starting for us.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Featured Julio Teheran Kris Medlen Popular Randall Delgado

  • JaredBook

    You may think I’m being an apologist for the Braves, but I’m really not. I think in their minds (and by they I mean Fredi and Frank) a fourth reliever is more important than a fifth starter.
     
    I think they are so scared about overusing Kimbrel, Venters and O’Flaherty that they feel that Medlen has more worth to them as a reliever than a 5th starter.
     
    Also, when Hudson comes back whoever the 5th starter is (Delgado, Teheran, Medlen, etc…) will be sent down to AAA or sent to the bullpen unless there are injuries to the other four guys. You would rather Medlen, who will be a very important piece in the bullpen, to be secure in his role whatever it may be.
     
    Yes it is a dropoff from Delgado to Medlen, but the more important drop off is from Medlen to Flande or Martinez (or Hernandez). I think the Braves realize more this year than any that their fourth and fifth relievers are more important than their fifth starter.

  • JaredBook

    And to add… I think Vizcaino’s injury affects this a little bit. Also the fact that Minor, Jurrjens and Hanson had good springs after question marks entering it. If you needed Medlen to be your No. 3, I agree with you. But as a No. 5, I think it makes more sense in the bullpen.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    I think a starter is much more important than a reliever regardless of what slot it is. The fact is they pitch more innings. Within the first month of the season there should be no issues about wearing out the bullpen especially when Gearrin and Flonde have pitched so well.