Oct 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Basket of baseballs during batting practice before game three of the 2012 ALCS between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Projections: Position #1 PART 4

Kris Medlen should start off the season as the #2 starter in the Braves rotation – let’s get that out of the way.  Let me say that I’m one of the biggest supporters of Medlen and believe he will have a great year this season.  Back in 2010, I was screaming for Bobby Cox’s job when he would start Medlen for a month then put him back in the bullpen.  I knew he had a future in the Braves rotation – but then one of the worse injures a ball player could inquire happened to Kris, Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss an entire year on the mound.  With a full year back with the Braves in 2012 Medlen excelled, winning back-to-back pitcher of the month in August and September.

Most columns about Atlanta’s starting rotation this offseason have been placing Kris Medlen at the top of the order.  As I don’t completely disagree with this, I’d like to see a little bit more out of him before I call him the Braves’ Ace.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen (54) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of the 2012 National League wild card playoff game at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2012, Medlen only started 12 games and didn’t get his first start until July 31st.  Obviously, if you were paying any attention to the Braves in August or September you would know he pitched lights out after getting his first start.  But, only 12 starts.  In 2010, before his surgery, he started 14 games for Atlanta and in 2009 he started four games in a Braves uniform.  So in four seasons at the MLB level, Medlen has only 30 starts to his name.  Even in the minors he had only 23 starts before being called up.

Starting experience may be one of the few flaws that Medlen has.  He brings with him a five-pitch arsenal including a filthy changeup that he has a career whiff rate of 44%.  Medlen’s two-seam fastball only reaches in the range of 89-92 mph and his ability to hit a spot reminds us of one of Atlanta’s greatest pitchers, Greg Maddux.

In 2012, the Atlanta Braves offense did help Medlen out by giving him an average of 6.0 runs per game he started.  Even though Kris didn’t need most of those runs, his ERA was 1.57, I’m sure he enjoyed the help.  He owned a 4.3 WAR in 2012 and his WHIP was .913.  He doesn’t give up many homeruns, MLB career .7 per 9 but does strikeout many, career 7.9 per 9.

If Kris Medlen continues the success he displayed in 2012, the Atlanta Braves could have an MVP pitcher and the ace we’re all looking for.  He still hasn’t reached his prime year age yet as he turned 27 two days after the Cardinals defeat last October.  I’m hoping for his 2013 numbers to back his 2012 ones but for right now, for the sake of experience, I’d prefer Medlen as our number two pitcher.


Kris Medlen

Year Age IP GS W L ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
2011 25 2.1 0 0 0 0.00 0.429 0.0 0.0 3.9
2012 26 138 12 10 1 1.57 .913 7.7 1.5 0.4
2013 27 190 29 15 7 3.10 1.082 7.5 1.9 0.8

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Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided Player Projections

  • fireboss

    When Fredi started Meds in the playoff game he anointed him number 1. Huddy is no longer that guy and is probably 3 this year behind Minor and ahead of Maholm. Interestingly 15-7 is the number I gave Joel Sherman last year when he asked for a prediction. Your projection works out to 160Ks which I see as high. He can strike guys out but he’s said he prefers not to have to throw that many pitches. I suspect he’d be happiest with consistent 7 inning outings with the 100th pitch coming in or after the 7th. That would mean less ks but be better for us in October.

    • Jeff Schafer

      That was the 2012 playoffs and Medlen was coming off 9 straight wins, he was pitching with numbers close to the best in baseball. I don’t know if Fredi had a choice not to go with him, he went with the hot hand. He’s a strikeout pitcher but 160 may be a little high. I guess we shall see

  • Lee Trocinski

    The only reason I can see him not starting Opening Day is another possible innings limit. Even with his efficient style, I doubt the Braves let him eclipse 200 IP, which would be an increase of over 40 innings from last year. I don’t think they’ll skip him much, but they may limit him to 5-6 innings the first couple months before going full bore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/portland50trey Matthew Zamora

    Love my Team

  • rick staley

    Still do not believe this team has an Ace until either Beachy is 100% healthy or we trade for one. Until then, I’d go; Medlen, Minor, Huddy, Maholm, Teheran to start the season.

    • fireboss

      There are only a few Aces around and we don’t own one of them Beachy may be one in the making but the sample size so far is too small to make that call. Medlen can be a #1 and I suppose there’s a chance he becomes an Ace but again the sample size is small. Don’t expect any trades because frankly we have little left to trade that would be considered valuable enough to land a Price, Linsecum, etc.