Ranking the 5 best options for the Atlanta Braves final rotation spot

The Atlanta Braves' starting rotation is stacked, but it needs to be rounded out with a fifth starter.

Bryce Elder, Atlanta Braves
Bryce Elder, Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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4. Hurston Waldrep is the future, but he is likely starting the year at AAA

Keep an eye on Hurston Waldrep making his presence felt in the Atlanta rotation at some point this summer. He was just drafted out of Florida, so he might be more big-league ready than people realize. For now, I think the Braves keep him in contention for a starting rotation up until the final days of spring training before inevitably sending him down to Triple-AAA. He and AJ Smith-Shawver will wait.

Not to say that Waldrep and Smith-Shawver are really competing for one spot at this point, as I would venture to guess they both will have roles in future Braves rotations, but only one of them has a realistic shot at being on the Opening Day roster this season. Of course, there are other candidates out there to be had. It probably makes the most sense to have them start the year down in Gwinnett.

Overall, just getting a consistent start every fifth day with an opportunity to stretch his arm out would do a promising prospect like Waldrep wonders. Although, I really feel that he is the pitcher in the Atlanta farm system Braves Country will clamor for being called up should anyone struggle right out of the gate. He grew up in Thomasville, so Waldrep knows what it means to be from Braves Country.

My best guess is Atlanta will wait to call him up so that the Braves can retain another year of control.