With two weeks remaining until the Braves open the 2017 season in New York, the team made it official on Sunday afternoon that Julio Teheran would get the Opening Day nod. Teheran, who was impressive for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, is coming off a season that saw him post a 3.21 ERA over 30 starts. In addition, Teheran represented the Braves in the Mid Summer Classic tossing a perfect fifth inning.
Following Teheran will be Bartolo Colon, coming off a 15 win season for the Mets in 2015. Jamie Garcia gets the nod for the final in the Big Apple, with RA Dickey and Mike Foltynewicz facing the Pirates in Pittsburgh for their season debuts. Folty solidified his spot in the starting staff with an impressive performance against the Astros on Friday in West Palm, where he punched out seven batters over four innings of work. While the team has said all along they were keeping their options open, it was essentially Folty’s job to lose during camp.
For a team that had the youngest rotation (by far) in the Big Leagues the last two seasons, the additions of veterans like Colon, Dickey and Garcia should pay dividends to a bullpen that got plenty of work the last few years. If the staff can hold up their end of the bargain, and the offense, which has been upgraded significantly over the last calendar year can perform as it did down the stretch, there’s certainly reason to believe the 2017 Braves could enter September playing meaningful baseball.