The continued maturation of Folty, who toes the slab in the opener of the weekend series against the banged-up Cardinals, has been the lone bright spot among Braves starting pitchers. Fortunately, help may be coming faster than we thought.
At Gwinnett, Lucas Sims has restored some of his prospect luster, walking just one hitter in his last three starts totaling 19 innings. A year ago, he walked 92 in 141 IP. Sims has a 2.83 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 2017 while averaging a strikeout per inning pitched. Teammate Sean Newcomb is coming off his best start since coming to the Braves organization, striking out 11 and walking just two in 7 shutout innings. For the year he has a 3.08 ERA in 5 starts, striking out 35 and walking 15 in 26-1/3 IP.
Mississippi’s talented rotation has lived up to its promise and then some. Kolby Allard struck out 11 in his last start, walking none and allowing three hits in 6 shutout innings. Through five starts the 19-year-old lefty has a 1.36 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Mike Soroka also has a WHIP under 1, striking out 27 and walking just three in 26.1 IP. Max Fried’s numbers aren’t so good but he pitched terrifically in two of his five starts. Patrick Weigel has been steadier (2.78 ERA) but is still walking too many (10 in BB in 32.1 IP).
At High-A Florida, portly southpaw Luiz Gohara, acquired in the Mallex Smith deal, has dominated, allowing no more than two runs in any of his six starts, good for a 1.69 ERA. Highly touted Touki Toussaint has an unsightly 8.14 ERA in five starts but a closer look at his numbers paint a rosier picture (29 K, 7 BB in 24-1/3 IP). Former Louisville right-hander Drew Harrington, chosen in the third round in last year’s draft, has shown impeccable control, allowing just three walks in 33-1/3 IP, good for a 2.16 ERA.
Last year’s first round selection, Ian Anderson, has allowed just 15 hits in 24 IP at Rome, striking out 30 (albeit with 14 walks). Bryse Wilson and Joey Wentz have also pitched well for the Low-A Braves.
Next time we’ll take a look at how the organization’s hitting prospects are doing (hint: not so good).