Ranking the NL East: Starting Pitchers

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Sep 24, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher

Julio Teheran

(49) pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

4. Atlanta Braves

Unlike the Phillies’ rotation, which is mostly made up of veterans, the Braves’ rotation is young and on the rise.

As of right now, the Braves’ rotation consists of Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Shelby Miller, Alex Wood and Mike Foltynewicz. Of Atlanta’s five starters, four will enter the 2015 at 24 years old or younger. The oldest, Minor, is also relatively young and will be just 27 years old on Opening Day.

The most impressive player in the Braves’ rotation is, without a doubt, Teheran. At just 24 years old, the right-hander has emerged as one of the best young pitchers in the game. Teheran was dominant in 2014, going 14-13 with a 2.89 ERA in 33 starts for the Braves. 2015 will be Teheran’s third full season in the big leagues, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be even better than he was last season.

After Teheran, however, the Braves rotation could be boom or bust in 2015.

After winning 13 games in 2013, Minor regressed badly last season, going 6-12 with a 4.77 ERA in 25 starts for the Braves. Miller, who pitched for the Cardinals last season, also seemed to take a step back in 2014. The Braves’ new right-hander went 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA last season, after going 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 2013.

Wood, on the other hand, turned in the best season of his young career in 2014, going 11-11 with a 2.71 ERA. Given how well he did in his first full season in the majors, it wouldn’t be surprising if the young left-hander has an even greater 2015 season.

The fifth spot in the rotation isn’t set in stone for the Braves, though newly-acquired right-hander Foltynewicz is expected to compete for the job during Spring Training. Foltynewicz, whom the Braves acquired from the Astros in the Evan Gattis trade, is considered the No. 2 prospect in Atlanta’s farm system, according to MLB.com.

The Braves’ rotation doesn’t make the top 3 in the NL East, but given how young and talented the team’s starters are, there’s no telling where this rotation will rank next offseason after each pitcher has another year of experience under their belt.

Next: Number Three?