Kris Medlen turns 27 in October and it would be easy to say that the Atlanta Braves have not taken advantage of the talent that he clearly has to this point.
Drafted out of Santa Ana College in the 10th round of the 2006 MLB Draft, Medlen did not start a game in the minors with Atlanta until 2008, having compiled a 1.17 ERA over his first 58 appearances, 69 innings. In 2009, Medlen began his swing-starter role in Atlanta after beginning the transition in Double-A in 2008.
As a relief pitcher, Medlen is 4-6 in 90 appearances, covering 129.2 innings, while he has posted a 2.92 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and a 112:37 K:BB.
As a starting pitcher, Medlen is 14-2 in 28 starts, covering 173 innings, while he has posted a 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and a 153:36 K:BB.
The 2012 season for Medlen has been nothing short of amazing. In 10 starts, Medlen is now 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 0.82 WHIP, amassing a 72:9 K:BB in 70.2 innings.
Buster Olney tweeted on Wednesday night: “Braves won their 21st straight game started by Kris Medlen. Last time for this: 1950-53,when the Yankees won 22 straight Whitey Ford starts.”
Pretty remarkable company and a pretty incredible feat.
Considering how the Braves have treated him in the past, what are they going to do next season with their rotation?
Tim Hudson has an affordable team option for 2013 ($9 million), Jair Jurrjens is arbitration-eligible for the final time, Paul Maholm has an affordable team option for 2013 ($6.5 million), Tommy Hanson is under team-control until 2016, Mike Minor is under team-control until 2018, Brandon Beachy will be returning from Tommy John surgery at some point in the 2013 season, and this is not even considering the presence of Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran in the system.
Could Kris Medlen be displaced once again from Atlanta’s rotation considering the success he has had? He has been successful in whatever role he has been asked to fill, but it seems clear that he and his flat-billed cap deserve to be in the rotation until he reaches free agency in 2016.