These next two months of Braves baseball will be tough. It won't be easy. You have to remember there is a process going on that is not even halfway finished yet. This didn't get broken overnight, and it won't be fixed overnight either.
But there is nothing more positive about this organization right now than the pitching prospects that have been accumulated. It's impressive, and it's eerily similar to what was done in the late-1980s by then-general manager Bobby Cox and scouting director Paul Snyder.
They took pitchers in the draft. They got pitchers back in every trade. They constructed a farm system that was the core for an historic run of successful baseball from 1991 through 2005, when the Braves won 14 straight division titles.
That consistent success is the goal once again. That's what the current front office, led by John Hart and John Coppolella, is doing. And like Cox and Snyder, Hart and Coppolella took pitchers in the draft and are getting pitchers back in every trade.
So if you are bummed about the Braves tough stretch this week, as they have lost five in a row and have scored only seven runs, here is something that will make you smile. Here are the candidates for the rotations in Atlanta and for the top four farm teams for 2016. We're just using players who are currently in the organization, and it is all just speculation right now.
Comment: Obviously, a veteran (do I even need to list the two that would fit perfectly?) could be brought in to change this, as the Braves might want to use a starter to get another bat. It's a young rotation, but it's talented.
Comment: Jenkins will likely end up with around 11 starts in Gwinnett by the time the season is over, so while he's knocking on the door the chances are he will start next season in AAA. Obviously, if Banuelos or Perez show they need more time, they could go back to Gwinnett. Winkler was a starter in AA for the Rockies before he blew out his elbow, so I'll pencil him in Gwinnett to start 2016. Gant, acquired from the Mets last week, could return to AA Mississippi, but we'll push him up to Gwinnett for now.
Comment: Sims will likely need more time in AA, since he missed part of this season due to the bus crash. Janas has been very impressive in his six starts so far in AA and will finish with about 12-13 starts in Mississippi this season. I'm pushing Thurman up to AA. He's an older college pitcher who could handle the challenge, despite missing some starts in Carolina due to the bus crash. Whalen will be ready for the promotion after 14 starts for the Mets' High-A team and likely eight for Carolina by the time the season ends. Bird should be ready for the next step. Barker has done well in Carolina and should be on the list for a potential promotion to AA.
Yean Carlos Gil
Comment: Fried had 23 starts in Low-A in 2013, the year before his elbow injury. So chances are Fried will start in at least High-A, but you can believe the Braves hope he's in AA at some point in 2016. He'll still be just 19 when the season starts, but Toussaint could be pushed up if he finishes strong in Rome this year. The Braves will give Gil another shot at High-A, where he failed to start the 2014 season and was sent back down.
Comment: Won't this be fun? The Braves will be careful with Allard, who could easily start in extended spring instead of Rome. Soroka will have a better chance at breaking spring camp with Rome since he's already in Danville. Sanchez has been very impressive, but he's so young. The rest will battle it out in what should be very entertaining.
So yes, the talent is coming. It's going to take a while, so just be patient. These young rotations are very, very impressive. Keep looking at this list every time things go south on the games. Help is on the way!
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.
Braves potential 2016 rotations look solid
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