Jo-Jo Reyes should be the odd man out of the rotation picture, unless a move is made. I could be wrong, but I can’t see him actually passing James, and Jurrjens is a better fit stylewise. (Hampton, of course, won’t pitch.) Reyes looked good in 2007, in that he obviously had great stuff, but his results on the big league level were catastrophic, a 6.22 ERA, nine homers in only 50 2/3 innings, and more walks than strikeouts. His 2007 minor league stats are outstanding, a 2.72 ERA in 19 starts, with better than a strikeout an inning. He could be very good if he can get major league batters to swing and miss. With only four AAA starts, he needs more seasoning, but the Braves seem to like their pitchers bland.
Jeff Bennett pitched well in two starts, poorly in one relief appearance (where he got a vulture win) but seems more likely to wind up in relief anyway. The Braves have to put on the roster or risk losing him; I’ll deal with him in the relief pitcher comments.
Buddy Carlyle is still around, but I’m not sure why. The perception some people have is that he started out pitching well and then faded, but actually his ERA never got below four last season. He did have one strong stretch, five starts (one shortened by rain) from June 26 to July 21, which included four quality starts, two of them genuinely excellent — but those two were against the Natspos and the Pirates, the two worst teams in the league. The others were against a struggling Cardinals team and against the Padres at their home field, Dead Ball Era Time Machine Park. When he started pitching against good teams, he got hammered. He’s probably a better pitcher than his 5.21 ERA from last season, but not a whole lot better, and if he is anything more than a 20-game fifth starter, we’re in trouble.
Charlie Morton has been added to the 40-man roster and will be in spring training. Morton has great stuff, but the enthusiasm over him is premature. His career minor league ERA is a gargantuan 4.91, his WHIP 1.62. He’s walked a ton of guys without great strikeout numbers. Last year for Mississippi, he was mostly a reliever and pitched better, but not really well (career-best 4.29 ERA). If he can build on the gains he made late in the season and in the AFL, he can be a comer, but I don’t really expect him to compete in spring. If he pitches well in Mississippi/Richmond he could be the first guy they call when someone goes down.
Jairo Cuevas is also on the 40-man, for clock reasons I guess. He hasn’t really done anything worth noticing yet, and my guess is that any future he has will be as a reliever… Jorge Campillo is a non-roster invitee with a little major league experience. He’s a Mexican, career in organized ball didn’t get started until he was 26, and would seem to be a control-and-ground-balls guy… The Braves have several pitchers other than Jurrjens on their various prospect lists, but generally these haven’t pitched past A-Ball, and many haven’t seen Myrtle Beach yet. Tommy Hanson has seen High-A, could rise quickly, and might be called up if things get really bad.
Jo-Jo Reyes Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com
Jeff Bennett Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com
Buddy Carlyle Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com
Charlie Morton Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com
Jairo Cuevas Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com
Jorge Campillo Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com
Thomas Hanson Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com