Luiz Gohara’s MLB debut? Not so hot. His future here? Quite bright

Luiz Gohara in his first big-league start. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

If you’re wondering why the Atlanta Braves have made Luiz Gohara a four-levels-in-one-season guy, it’s because they want him to feel as if he belongs at the highest level. He started the year in High-A. He made his Triple-A debut on July 28. He made his first big-league start two days after Labor Day. He’s moving fast.

His four innings against the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon were mostly forgettable. He got 12 outs and generated eight baserunners (four hits, four walks). He yielded six earned runs. His ERA in the bigs is 13.50. But …

He struck out six in four innings. His fastball popped, as you’d expect. His slider slid, which is a big deal for any pitcher. If you have a big fastball and a nasty slider, you’ve got a chance to be here a good long while. Gohara has that chance.

“He can get major-league hitters out,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “There’s no question about that. It’s just a matter of command.”

The Braves know full well that Gohara, with 127 2/3 innings over four levels, has nearly doubled his previous professional high. That’s part of the reason they’ve adopted, at least for the moment, a six-man rotation. They want to see what he can do, but they don’t want to overtax a pitcher who just turned 21. Because they think he has a chance to make their team coming out of spring training.

Unlike last winter, the offseason ahead doesn’t figure to see the Braves in heated pursuit of a starting pitcher. Figure Julio Teheran, who has had a terrible year, doesn’t get traded because the Braves don’t want to receive pennies on the dollar in return. Figure Mike Foltynewicz, recent wobbles aside, has done enough to merit inclusion in next year’s rotation. Figure the team exercises its option and retains R.A. Dickey. That’s three starters.

For the other two slots, the Braves could pick from Gohara, Sean Newcomb and Max Fried — all power left-handers, all who’ve made their big-league bow this summer. We know from the egregious failures of Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair that not every young pitcher delivers on his promise, but these three lefties throw harder than Wisler and Blair, and they are, duh, left-handed.

I know it sometimes seems the Braves are going nowhere fast. At such a time, I’d suggest that Gohara’s arrival be read as another sign of gentle progress. He has a bigger arm than Wisler and Blair, meaning hope is being replaced by expectation. No, not all prospects pan out, but eventually some of them will — and the greater the talent, the less the chance of failure.

And we say again: As much as the Braves like these three young lefties, the pitchers they absolutely love are the ones they’ve drafted (Allard, Soroka, Anderson, Wentz and Wright.) They’re not quite ready. They might be by this time next year. Contrary to popular belief, the Braves do have starting pitching. Some of it is here already.

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17 comments
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sea8491
sea8491

Soroka is ready now, have you seen him pitch?  Looks like



JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Who's to say whether any of this first wave - Folty, Wisler, Blair, Sims, Fried, Gohara, Newcomb will stick. Let's hope for the best. Some of these guys may end up in long relief, absolutely critical roles.You can't help but like the younger pitchers who are absolutely not ready yet and won't (IMO) be for 2 years. Braves everyday guys need to stay focused on their jobs. Swanson, Inciarte, FF, Albies, have all shown great upside. Acuna is still young but looks good. We have a winner at 3rd in Austin Riley, who absolutely raked in AA ball and should be invited to the big league camp next Spring. It's coming together but patience is the order of the day. 

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Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Hey Bradley, Have the Braves already written Lucas Sims off. Is he not in their plans because he was drafted by Frank Wren. He has pitched no worse than any other of the Braves young prospects , but you and the Braves seem to have already delegated him for at best middle relief.

sansho1
sansho1

I've heard the rebuild will be complete once the second wave of young pitchers arrives, among the reasons being they are better athletes than those in the first wave like Wisler and Blair.  Can't speak to Gohara's pitching prowess yet, but that is not the picture of an elite athlete....

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@sansho1 Not all Baseball players ,especially pitchers are  the pictures of elite athletes, and being an elite athlete does not guarantee you can get MLB hitters out.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Not a good debut for Gohara.....that's true, but he is talented and will be a quailty ML starter some day soon. I've seen too many walks from these rookies trying to pitch too fine. I've also seen too many homeruns and hits on 0-2, 1-2, counts. Maybe it's part of the training plan, I don't know. If it is, it's beyond my comprehension. There's no defense against a walk. Go after the hitter. It's still a round ball and a round bat and odds are he'll hit it to somebody. A slight correction......against Stanton and Judge, a walk may be the best defense. I often wonder how many homeruns Ruth, Maris, Mays, and Aaron would hit if the were in their prime today. One last question about performance enhancing drugs. If you take aspirin, Tylenol, aleve, etc to ease aches and pains so you can play......are they performance enhancers????

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TideDawg Location, location ,location if the three former Braves recently inducted into the HOF proved anything especially Maddux and Glavine ,is that locating your fastball even at 90-92 MPH is better than throwing your fastball down the middle at 95-98 MPH. Hopefully some of the young pitching prospects will learn to pitch rather than just throw the ball as hard as they can. Still not sure that Newcomb will ever improve his command with the poor mechanics of his delivery of the baseball.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@Buschleaguer @TideDawg  There was one pitcher that could bring it to the middle of the plate in the upper 90s that was difficult to hit. Ryne Duren! When he came in to relieve wearing those coke bottle glasses, hitters were scared to get in the box and dig in. No helmets, back in those days. Duren didn't know where the ball was going. Another was Randy Johnson. You nailed the key to pitching success....LOCATION! How long will it take Folty to realize he can't throw it by todays hitters without location? Newcomb will be OK, he's got the "it" factor.....maybe next year.

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58Supersports
58Supersports

They do have starting pitching? Some of it is here already?

Please tell us who Mark? I don't see but 1 or maybe 2 at most. Teheran is not one of them. Coppy better get on the ball and come up with couple good pitchers and not over the hill gang members.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@58Supersports  I predict that the Braves will trade some talent for a couple of starters. Potential? Everybody has some. There are some that have more than others. The Braves have the largest pool of potential starters in MLB. But, you're right, not one of these rookies has shown up in the outstanding category. I remember Glavine. I always hated to see him pitch. He looked like he was thumping the ball up to the plate. Today he's a HOFer.......what do I know? I think you're right about Teheran, he's a 3rd or 4th starter at best.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TideDawg @58Supersports Some Braves scout  or maybe it was John Hart said ,"You sign so many Starting Pitching prospects because only one of ten actually becomes a good MLB starter". So it should make sense to trade 3 Pitching prospects for a proven MLB starter.It would seem to improve the odds from 10 to 1 to 3 to 1.I would have rather Coppy sent 3 Prospects to the White Sox for Chris Sale than to try and hope one of these kids will develop into a #1 or even a #2 starting pitcher.