Normally I’d do an “Other starting pitching possibilities” post, but there’s only one real possibility if someone can’t start the season, and it’s Medlen. Medlen has a lot of positives as a starting candidate, in that he’s pitched well as a starter in the minors and has great stuff. On the other hand, he’s 5-10. That’s really the only reason that anyone doesn’t think of him as a starter — though he’s probably the best long-term closer candidate that the Braves have.
Medlen made four starts with the big club, and his ERA was 6.38. That’s slightly deceptive. He pitched poorly in his first start, was great in his third, and was adequate in the other two, one of which was an emergency start in Colorado. In that small sample, he showed power — nineteen strikeouts in eighteen and a third innings — but bad control — eleven walks — and also allowed four homers. The expectation is that he would improve with experience, and the strikeouts are a nice base to improve on. As a reliever, he put up a 3.47 ERA and kept the strikeouts up, but showed much better control. The Braves hopefully won’t need him in the rotation, and he could be a major contributor in the bullpen. You probably won’t want to pigeonhole him just yet, though. Starters are a lot more valuable than relievers.
Though he was a two-way player in college, went 0-13 as a hitter in the majors. On the other hand, was a .333 hitter (in limited work) in the minors, and is a good athlete.