ATLANTA -- Braves fans have closely monitored Sean Newcomb's progress since he was acquired from the Angels in exchange for Andrelton Simmons after the 2015 season. Many of them will get their first true look at the highly-touted pitching prospect when he makes his Major League debut this weekend.A Major
ATLANTA -- Braves fans have closely monitored Sean Newcomb's progress since he was acquired from the Angels in exchange for Andrelton Simmons after the 2015 season. Many of them will get their first true look at the highly-touted pitching prospect when he makes his Major League debut this weekend.
A Major League source said Newcomb will start one of the games played during Saturday's doubleheader against the Mets at SunTrust Park. The Braves have not formally announced this plan, but before Wednesday night's game, manager Brian Snitker answered many questions about the much-anticipated debut.
"It's exciting to see young guys to see how they respond and how they react," Snitker said. "When I was managing Triple-A, they'd call us and say, 'Is this guy ready?' Position player or pitcher, it didn't matter. It was like, 'He's done well here,' but when you put that third deck [of the stadium] up there you just never know."
Newcomb will be filling the rotation spot vacated by Bartolo Colon, who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained left oblique.
Matt Wisler is also expected to be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to start one of Saturday's games. Snitker said he has not decided whether Newcomb or Wisler will start the first game, which is scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. ET. First pitch for the second game is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET.
Newcomb has a 2.97 ERA through 11 starts for Gwinnett. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound southpaw has struggled to find consistent command throughout his professional career. But he has shown improvement, posting a 2.08 ERA over his past eight starts. While Newcomb has issued 24 walks over 43 1/3 innings in this span, he has benefited from 56 strikeouts and a .179 opponent's batting average.
"Like any of them, he's getting better," Snitker said. "The more you play them, the better you get."
Newcomb ranks as MLBPipeline.com's 70th overall prospect and ninth-best left-handed pitching prospect. He ranked as Atlanta's top prospect last year, but he has fallen to fifth within the talent-rich system.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.