By Jacob Kornhauser on April 19, 2014
The Braves had several question marks in their rotation going into the season as they lost Kris Medlen for the season to elbow surgery and lost Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd to separate injuries. This thrown-together rotation has played extremely well. Here are grades for Atlanta's starting five as well as the bullpen so far this season.
Teheran got ace money in the offseason, and he's pitched like an ace so far this season. He's been extremely impressive and he outdueled Cliff Lee recently. As an emerging young star, he isn't giving the Braves any reason to doubt his limitless potential.
As a lefty change-of-pace guy for the Braves, Wood has been great so far. He's exhibiting stellar control and has been rolling so far this season. If he can continue this streak, he will be a very solid No. 2 starter going forward.
Harang has had something of a resurgence in Atlanta so far this season. The Braves took a flyer on him and he's paid off. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning recently, displaying his recent dominance. However, he walked six in that game, so control could be an issue going forward.
Hale has been pretty solid this season, but has pitched himself out of some situations that he won't always be able to pitch himself out of. He has more walks than strikeouts this year and his 1.821 WHIP is very high. Unless he can limit the amount of runners he puts on base, his ERA could soon skyrocket.
Santana has been absolutely masterful since signing late in the offseason with the club. He's been virtually unhittable and has controlled his pitches effectively. A dominant pitcher early in his career, Santana is finding some of that old magic so far this season.
Even though the bullpen hasn't been as effective as they've been in the past, they've still been pretty darn good. Closer Craig Kimbrel has been dominant as usual, posting a 1.59 ERA while saving five games already. Middle relief has been shaky so far, but with starters going deep into ballgames and handing the ball to the back end of the bullpen, that problem could be more minor than it seems.
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