The Braves tonight trot out their 13th starting pitcher this season, as Rob Whalen makes his big league debut. (Pittsburgh has used 11 starters, Washington 8 for what that’s worth.) Whalen came over with Jon Gant from the Mets in the KJ-Uribe deal last July.
Whalen has very good minor league numbers–24-17, 2.45 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8 Ks per 9 innings, and a .212 average against in 360 innings pitched. MLB.com calls him the Braves’ No. 20 prospect, but he has been little hyped since he arrived in the organization. He moved up from AA Mississippi to Gwinnett last month and was good in three starts.
Whalen wasn’t drafted by the Mets until the 12th round in 2012, but he’s never had a bad year in the minors. He’d been the Mets’ 18th best prospect, according to mlb.com, and did not seem all that prized. We’ll see. I won’t pretend I know anything about the guy. I don’t. I do know that it’s beginning to look like the Braves’ “young pitching” is mostly the first and not so much the second. Folty, he of considerable potential, needs to toughen up mentally. Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t. Not sure what the hell happened to Wisler. Blair? Who knows. Newcomb? He’s supposed to be good, but he hasn’t really shown it in the Braves’ minor league system.
Some others are years away. The point is it’s hard to get excited about a 2017 rotation with one reliable pitcher, Teheran, and four guys who might as well wear uniforms like the Riddler from Batman, covered with question marks.
Tonight’s lineup: Beckham 2B, Garcia, Freddie, Kemp, Markakis, Inciarte, Recker, Aybar, Whalen.