Sean Newcomb is a name many Braves fans have likely started to forget. In addition to that, Newcomb probably wants to forget about the past year or two of his career as well. After starting just 4 games in 2020 he was demoted to the alternate training site and never returned despite the Braves rotation issues all season.
Newcomb started out the season decently, only giving up 1 ER in his first start. However, he threw 82 pitches in just 3.1 innings with 2 walks and 2 hit batters. The wheels fell off in his second outing, 6 ER in 4.1 innings. After another decent outing (2 ER in 4.2 IP), Newcomb ultimately imploded allowing a whopping 8 ER in just 1.1 innings. A trio of free passes and two homers are ultimately what did him in as the Braves sent him packing.
Newcomb appeared in 55 games and was great out of the bullpen. He started 3 games in April, allowing 6 ER in 12.1 innings (4 of which came in 1.1 innings in his final start) before being relegated to AAA. About a month later he was recalled to work as a reliever and it appeared, he had found his craft. In 56 innings out of the bullpen he held a 2.89 ERA. Besides a few 3 run outings he was a great reliever.
Newcomb showed a lot of promise early in his career, but as a starter he just hasn’t shown the control necessary to continue. His fastball is about league average, but his curveball has been well above average with elite spin. In 2019 he was great at limiting hard contact and out of the bullpen he was able to work 100% from the first pitch. He really benefitted from this and was able to go after hitters. As evidence, his BB/9 out of the bullpen are significantly lower than as a starter. For Newcomb the only option is going to be to show up to Spring Training ready to fight for a spot in an already lefty-heavy bullpen or find himself on another team or back in AAA trying to figure out how to pitch again. I still have faith in Newcomb and would love to see him get a spot over someone like Grant Dayton, but with Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter and Will Smith all lefties it would be surprising to see him get a spot unless he can really find some of that 2019 bullpen magic in Spring Training.