Much of the Braves success of the 1990's was based on starting pitching and growing it in your own farm system. When you think of the big 3 of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, only Maddux was an established player when he came to Atlanta. Glavine was a home grown prospect and while we traded for Smoltz he hadn't yet made his major league debut. In the mid to late 2000's when pitching prospects weren't coming up through the system the Braves were forced to trade for and sometimes overpay on the FA market for SP's who didn't always pan out. Hudson was a great trade but Lowe and Kawakami were bad signings.
Tim Hudson (38). Acquired in December of 2004 for Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer, and Charles Thomas. Signed a 4 year $36M deal before the 2010 season and is a FA after this season. Hudson while out for the remainder of this season and a question mark to return next season has been a great player for the Braves going 113-72 with a 3.56 ERA over 9 seasons in a Braves uniform.
Mike Minor (25). Drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 draft out of Vanderbilt. Minor was a questionable pick at 7th overall as a college pitcher because some said his ceiling might only be in 3-4 starter range, but he was signable and for the Braves that was a big deal. Minor has proven people wrong though. He flew through the system to make 8 starts in 2010 and while he struggled some in 2011 and the first half of 2012 he has been great since and has developed into the ace of the Braves staff going 30-20 with 3.85 ERA in 4 seasons with the Braves. The great thing about Minor though is that he won't be arbitration eligible until after next season.
Julio Teheran (22). Signed as a 16 year old out of Colombia in 2007. Teheran was once billed as the top pitching prospect in the majors and while he took some lump to get to where he is Teheran has really made great strides this season. He's still very young and only has 157 total innings under his belt over 3 seasons in the majors but there is no doubt that he could be very good in the not to distant future.
Kris Medlen (27). Drafted in the 10th round of the 2006 draft out of Santa Ana College. First year arb. player who is making $2.6M this season coming off an impressive finish to last season. After going 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA over 138 innings last year Medlen hasn't been quite that good this season, but for a guy who is our current number 3 starter he's not awful either. For being drafted in the 10th round Medlen has been a good find. He's not a top of the rotation guy but he's a solid middle guy who gives you innings and doesn't back down.
Brandon Beachy (26). Signed as a amateur FA in 2008. Beachy has been an incredible find, for a guy who went undrafted out of Indiana Wesleyan. Beachy only made 13 starts last season and has only just returned from TJ surgery to make one so far this year. If there is any player on the current Braves team that I would like to see go an entire season without an injury its Beachy. Over 241.1 innings he has a 12-10 record, 3.28 ERA and 257 K's.
Alex Wood (22). Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 draft out of Georgia. Wood much like Minor flew through the Braves to make his debut. He has appeared in 18 games and made 3 starts this season. Wood has the stuff to be a good starter but could be something special in the bullpen. I am very curious to see what the Braves plans will be going forward with him.
Paul Maholm (31). Acquired during 2012 season along with Reed Johnson for Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman. Maholm has made 31 starts for the Braves in what will likely be his final season with the team. He pitched very well after coming over from the Cubs last season and started this season off great too, but then starting coming back to earth. He has struggled to stay in games and his lack of stuff finally caught up to him.
With the current starting five the Braves have they are only young but also very cheap with Medlen the only one to reach arbitration. All five guys came up through the farm system and have an attachment to the team that goes beyond money.
It will be interesting once Maholm comes back to see if the Braves go to a 6 man rotation for the final few weeks of the season to limit innings on these young guys who are approaching or have already passed career highs in innings pitched.
This is the first part of what will become a 4 part series. I hope to have the second part which will be the infielders up sometime on Monday.