I think our hopes of Kris Medlen emerging as the true ace for the Atlanta Braves is likely lost after he pitched a second consecutive playoff blowout. In Game 1 of the NLDS, Medlen gave up five earned runs; it was the first time he had given up five earned runs since the 2012 Wild Card game. While two games is hardly an acceptable sample size, it’s hard to forget two playoff letdowns. I don’t know if we’ll ever see him start a playoff series again.
Mike Minor was great in 2013, posting a 3.21 earned run average over a whopping 204.2 innings pitched but despite his trustworthy effort, he has yet to prove himself as a true ace. The truth is, there is likely no pitcher in the Braves’ system that will ever be called a true ace, but I believe if there is one person who can take that role and own it, it’s Brandon Beachy.
He showed true poise and a glimpse of possible greatness in the first of 2012, when he posted a league-leading 2.00 ERA over 81 innings pitched. Since that time, I’ve been diligently waiting to see Beachy return to his dominance and make a name in the league, but his destiny evades him. In the few starts he played in 2013, he again showed how good he can be. However, rather than risk a giant loss, the Braves decided to shut him down until 2014.
I fully expect Minor to take place at the helm of the Braves’ rotation next season, but I think it will become clear, eventually, that the true leader of this staff is Brandon Beachy.