After the spontaneous reemergence of Kris Medlen in May, much of the hype has disappeared. While in Atlanta, pitching has since picked up. R.A. Dickey and Mike Foltynewicz have found their rhythm, and the addition of Freddie Freeman has solidified consistent run support.
Quite possibly, Kris Medlen’s ticket for re-admittance to the big leagues has waivered.
Every season a Cinderella story emerges out of the emotional depths of baseball. Many Braves fans hoped Kris Medlen would double as the knight in shining armor and the prince in training. And if we’re being honest, the possibility of a late season call-up is still alive. The Atlanta bullpen always needs assistance and future trade deals may leave openings in the starting rotation.
But here’s the gist: Medlen sailed through the minor leagues until his third game in Triple-A; then it all fell apart. He allowed nine hits and five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Today, his ERA is at 5.82, entirely lopsided compared to his Florida (3.97) and Mississippi (1.74) numbers from earlier in the season.
From a realist’s point of view, practicality had to set in sooner or later. Dreams of becoming the pitcher you once were almost never turn into the coveted last chance.
The Braves pushed Medlen through each step of the minor leagues and maybe without regarding his mental needs. Jumping from city to city playing with different teammates every few weeks sounds highly overwhelming.
But in the Braves’ case, he was hitting the bulls-eye every single outing. His smooth transition into each ball club was statistically stimulating. Every outing deserved validation. So the Braves, as teams do, kept promoting him.
At 31, Medlen is seeking his last hurrah. And as the Braves near the trade deadline, fresh pitching continues to run through minds and headlines. Crunch time is approaching Medlen’s comeback. Over the next week, he has to prove that he is the guy the Atlanta team needs, not a newbie from another organization.
Last night, Medlen completed seven solid innings while allowing three runs. These numbers are acceptable but not dominant. His ERA needs to pass the .400 mark in order to prove consistency.
So are the Braves still eyeing a return for Medlen?
In my opinion, Kris Medlen will be called up in September, if not before then. The fans adore him, and to some, his presence reminds aficionados of 2012. The year Medlen became the ace. The season that proved a no-name bullpen mule could become the team’s American Pharoah. Medlen’s Triple Crown run as a Brave came that year as he led Atlanta to its first single-game Wild Card playoff. To Braves fans, that may top even Medlen’s World Series Championship with the Royals.
Who doesn’t love mixing new success with the old?
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