Atlanta Braves, MLB Spring Training

Atlanta Braves: 1 trade, 1 signing, 1 prospect for fifth starter role

Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves

Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves have a big decision to make for their fifth starter role. Thankfully, there are still some options available.

Atlanta will start the season with a conundrum in their starting rotation. While most assumed shortstop or left field would be the team’s biggest issue heading into spring training, both Marcell Ozuna and Vaughn Grissom have performed admirably, suggesting they will begin the season entrenched in their roles.

Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder, who had been competing for the final rotation spot, will start the season in Triple-A. While there’s still hope that both will eventually find their way back on the MLB roster, for now Atlanta needs to consider all options. FanSided’s Cody Williams outlined the situation Anderson and Elder find themselves in at this very moment:

“However, it doesn’t mean the last of Elder or Anderson (or Soroka once healthy). O’Brien also noted that with injuries likely to put Huascar Ynoa, Tyler Matzek and Kolby Allard on the IL to start the year, any of that group could be recalled without any wait. So that’s still on the table.”

So, who are the favorites to take Anderson or Elder’s spot in the rotation?

Braves rumors: 1 prospect for the No. 5 rotation spot

Jared Shuster, one of the top prospects remaining in the Braves system, will have a shot to earn an MLB roster spot out of spring training. One would expect that to be in the starting rotation.

Shuster has made quite the impression in spring training, with Brian Snitker watching every start. Snitker came away impressed with Shuster’s last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“I love watching him pitch,”  Snitker said. “He’s efficient, and he works fast.”

Shuster’s first minor-league season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but since then he’s been moving up the ranks with relative ease. The former first-round pick is a bright spot in Atlanta’s system, and has long been off limits in trade talks.

In his last start, Shuster’s only blemish was a home run given up to Bryan Reynolds. Being the perfectionist that he is, that was his sole focus after the game.

“Reynolds saw my best [changeups] all day,” Shuster said. “I just threw him a crappy one there.”

While Elder and Anderson were the favorites for the fifth rotation spot heading into spring training, Shuster had a great attitude in gaining experience against MLB-level hitters. He’s used that experience to make an early impression and then some.

“It’s been a great experience so far, just being able to be with big leaguers,” Shuster said. “It’s been great to learn from them and face them and see how my stuff plays against them. It’s been really awesome. I’m really grateful for the experience.”

Come Opening Day, he may find himself in the big leagues altogether.

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