Opening Day of the 2014 season is just over a month away and most every team is looking to answer many questions before the dawn of the first game appears. One question that will come up over the course of the next few weeks is, “Who will start opening day for your team?”
For some teams, they have clear-cut pitchers that will go out there. The New York Yankees have C.C. Sabathia and the Los Angeles Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw. However, not every team has it that easy. In the Atlanta Braves’ case, they have three real options for that nod: Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran.
In Spring Training, Minor has yet to pitch due to a procedure done just a few days ago. According to the team, he will be ready for the first series of the regular season against the Milwaukee Brewers. Teheran has had himself a nice offseason, signing a big extension with the team that will keep him in Atlanta for six more years. Finally, Medlen has had a quiet offseason; no injuries and no contract extensions. Overall, any of these three men could start Opening Day for the team and do a darn good job at it.
However, when it comes down to it, Medlen has to get the nod for the Braves. On Opening Day, all of the players in the league will have the butterflies in their stomachs and every pitcher will want the ball. Medlen takes the advantage, not over his stuff necessarily, but because he throws a ton of strikes. It would be best to have a guy on the mound that is going to pound the strikezone and not try to strikeout 10 batters in the first four innings. His ability to use his defense has been very successful for him since he has been in the league.
Another reason Medlen gets the Opening Day nod is because of his attitude. Every time he takes the mound, it seems like he is having an absolute ball. This could actually be important on the first day of the season to loosen up the guys behind him if they are a little tight when they take the field. Also, he pitches a pretty quick game, getting the ball back from the catcher and being on the rubber ready for the next signal.
Whichever way Fredi Gonzalez decides to go with his Opening Day starter, those three guys could win the game with ease. When it comes down to it though, he has to put Medlen out there and get the 2014 season off to a good start.