JHOULYS CHACIN – RHP – 28 years old
2015: 20 starts in AAA between Columbus & Reno (7-6, 3.78 ERA) – 4 starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks (1-1, 3.04 ERA)
At times, Chacin has been a solid mid-lower rotation starting pitcher for the Rockies since 2010. He was 14-10 in 31 starts in 2013, but last season he was mainly in Triple-A. The Braves are bringing him in for a look during spring training to see if they can get him on track. It’s a good gamble, since there has been success in the past. He had some shoulder issues a few years ago, but the Braves are confident he’s healthy and will give him a shot in March.
KYLE KENDRICK – RHP – 31 years old
2015: 27 starts with the Colorado Rockies (7-13, 6.32 ERA)
Well, this is a bigger gamble as Kendrick has really struggled the past three seasons. But he can eat innings and is a veteran. There’s little risk involved. If there are issues with the young pitchers in March and Kendrick does well then the Braves would have another veteran in the rotation. Kendrick’s numbers have been pretty rough, as he has just never turned the corner since showing promise as a kid with the Phillies. If Kendrick does well and the rotation is already packed, maybe the Braves could trade him. Don’t expect the Braves to let Chacin or Kendrick get in the way of a young pitcher.
AARON BLAIR – RHP – 23 years old
2015: 25 starts between AA Mobile & AAA Reno (13-5, 2.92 ERA)
The Braves feel Aaron Blair is close, as he did really well last season in his second full season in pro ball. But as teams do, don’t be surprised if the Braves let him go down to AAA even if Blair shines in spring training to keep that extra season of control. But do not expect Blair to remain in Gwinnett long if that is the course of action. The Diamondbacks did not want to give Blair up, as they too realized he was close to being a candidate for the 2016 rotation. Expect Blair in Atlanta no later than the All-Star break.
TYRELL JENKINKS – RHP – 23 years old
2015: 25 starts between Mississippi and Gwinnett (8-9, 3.19 ERA)
Jenkins needs to miss more bats. He had just 88 strikeouts in his 138.1 innings last season. With all the competition, Jenkins must have a tremendous spring to show he’s ready for a job in the Atlanta rotation. Chances are he’ll return to Gwinnett to work on refining his stuff. Don’t count out the bullpen for Jenkins, as the Braves do believe he can get major league hitters out. He just may need a bit more time.
RYAN WEBER – RHP – 25 years old
2015: 5 starts with the Atlanta Braves (0-3, 4.76 ERA) – 14 starts between Mississippi & Gwinnett (3-6, 3.52)
Weber was forced into a handful of starts as the Braves were trying to finish the season last September. He does not have great stuff, but Weber has always proved people wrong by getting people out. He’s the kind of pitcher that could easily go to camp and open some eyes. Weber is likely more of a fallback option and will likely be in Gwinnett’s rotation as a fill-in replacement if an injury occurs in Atlanta.
CASEY KELLY – RHP – 26 years old
2015: 2 starts with the San Diego Padres (0-2, 8.68 ERA) – 19 starts between AAA and AA (1-9, 5.83 ERA)
What a story this would be if a player that was a three-time Top 50 prospect could make it back from his arm troubles and start some games for the Atlanta Braves. Kelly will likely be glad he’s getting a fresh start after years of trying to make it back with the Padres. He’s just never been the same since having Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2013. Can he finally turn the corner and live up to the promise he once had? The Braves will see what he can do in March. Most likely, Kelly will be a candidate for Gwinnett.
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