Atlanta Braves have not done enough to address starting rotation

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 02: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 02, 2020 in New York City. The Rays defeated the Yankees 5-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 02: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Charlie Morton #50 of the Tampa Bay Rays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 02, 2020 in New York City. The Rays defeated the Yankees 5-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves have been busy adding to their starting rotation. These moves are not enough.

The Atlanta Braves came into the offseason with specific needs in their starting rotation. While Max Fried had a breakout campaign and Ian Anderson was a revelation as a rookie, the Braves still needed more help. Getting Mike Soroka back will help, but that would not be enough.

With this in mind, the Braves have made additions to their rotation already. Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton have been brought on board, each signing a one year deal. It is a good start to shoring up the pitching staff.

But both pitchers are a bit of a question mark. Smyly has been a solid pitcher when healthy, but that is not nearly a given. He has pitched more than 120 innings just twice in his seven years in the majors, and missed two seasons due to injury. Overall, Smyly has a 4.13 ERA and a 1.258 WHiP – solid numbers, but nothing that suggests that he will be the missing piece.

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Morton, meanwhile, has been excellent over the past four seasons, posting a 3.34 ERA and a 1.159 WHiP in his 546.1 innings. But there are question marks with him as well. Morton’s velocity dropped to its lowest level since 2015 and there are questions about his shoulder. He struggled through the 2020 regular season, and while he looked like himself in the playoffs, it is enough to give a degree of pause.

The questions also extend to the holdovers. Anderson was impressive in both the regular season and the playoffs, but his command has been problematic over the years. He could be an ace one inning, and then lose command of the strike zone entirely. The Braves have high hopes for Anderson going forward, but he could also collapse without warning.

If everything goes according to plan, the Braves rotation will be much better in 2021. Smyly has had flashes of being a solid piece to the rotation. Morton has been a top of the rotation arm since the Astros unlocked his potential in 2017. But there are too many possible outcomes for Atlanta to consider their work done as it comes to their starters.

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The Atlanta Braves have improved their rotation on paper, but there is still a lot of work left to be done.