Braves: Best Options to Replace Jake Odorizzi in the Starting Rotation

Not many teams have five starting pitchers they can trust, and the Atlanta Braves may be running out of trust in Jake Odorizzi in the fifth spot. 

When Alex Anthopoulos and the Atlanta Braves traded Will Smith to the Houston Astros for Jake Odorizzi it seemed like a sound move at the time.

AA was able to move an expensive, struggling reliever that really had no spot in the bullpen for a starter who had the chance to give you some solid starts in the fifth spot.

But it just hasn’t worked out as Odorizzi has allowed 16 ER in 6 starts since joining the Braves. And he’s not providing much length either working past the fifth inning twice.

There were a couple of good starts mixed in against the Pirates and Cardinals, but after getting skipped in the rotation for arm fatigue, he had a rough outing in Seattle.

Because of the loyalty of Snit, and the $6.35 million buyout, Odorizzi probably gets one more chance. That would come against the Phillies this weekend.

But the Braves can’t continue to give these games up, and they have other options.

 

Braves: 5th Starter Options

Kyle Muller

After a disastrous start with the Braves on May 1, Kyle Muller went down to Gwinnett and really ironed some things out.

Overall at Gwinnett this year, he has a 3.06 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 123.2 innings with 37 walks and 145 strikeouts.

He came back up on August 13 and threw a solid game against the Miami Marlins allowing just 2 earned runs on 3 hits and a walk over 5 innings with 5 strikeouts.

 

Bryce Elder

Bryce Elder got a longer stay in the rotation back in April after a couple of good starts, but ultimately worked his way out of the rotation.

He hasn’t been quite as good as Muller at Gwinnett with a 4.64 ERA in 99 innings with 29 walks and 91 strikeouts, but he does have a solid WHIP of 1.18.

And in his last 2 outings with the Braves — both against the Marlins — he’s been fabulous.

 

Mike Soroka

Nothing would be better than seeing Mike Soroka return to the big leagues and become a force in the rotation again.

But he’s probably not ready just yet.

In 4 starts with Gwinnett, he has a 5.06 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 16 innings with 14 hits allowed, 6 BB, and 11 strikeouts.

He’s also yet to throw more than 76 pitches in a single start, so he’s not quite stretched out.

 

Ian Anderson

The results at Gwinnett for Ian Anderson have not been good. He’s given up 13 earned runs on 25 hits and 10 walks in 21.2 innings with 23 strikeouts.

You can’t focus on the results down there as he’s working on things — and hopefully working on developing a third pitch — but certainly, you would hope to see some better numbers.

We know what he’s done in the postseason and in big moments; perhaps he has some of that magic left.

The bottom line is, the Braves have options — options that potentially give you a better chance than what Odorizzi is providing. It’s time to make a change.