Report: Braves' Newcomb to make MLB debut

No. 70 overall prospect to start in Saturday twin bill versus Mets

Sean Newcomb has averaged 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings this season with Triple-A Gwinnett. (John Raoux/AP)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | June 7, 2017 12:35 PM

One of the Braves' many impressive Minor League arms will get his chance at The Show this weekend.

Atlanta will call up No. 70 overall prospect Sean Newcomb for his Major League debut Saturday in a doubleheader against the Mets, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Bowman added that Newcomb will likely start the first game of the twin bill in Atlanta. Newcomb will need to be added to the Braves' 40-man roster before taking the mound, but the organization has an opening there after designating Emilio Bonifacio for assignment last Friday.

Newcomb owns a 2.97 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with 74 strikeouts and 33 walks in 57 2/3 innings this season, his first in Triple-A. His 29.7 percent strikeout rate with Gwinnett ranks second in the International League, while his .209 average-against is fifth-best. However, the 23-year-old left-hander's bugaboo continues to be his control with a 13.3 percent walk rate that is second-worst among the 42 qualified IL hurlers. That number has also been trending in the wrong direction as Newcomb holds a career 12.5 percent walk rate over his four seasons in the Minors. 

A first-round overall pick by the Angels in 2014, Newcomb has shown impressive stuff that has made batters whiff at every level he's played. His fastball received a grade of 70 on the 20-80 scale by MLB.com, given his ability to throw in the upper-90s, and his curve has earned plaudits as a plus offering as well.

Video: Gwinnett's Newcomb rings up 11th K

But an inability to throw consistent strikes has kept the University of Hartford product from climbing the ladder more quickly. He's averaged at least one walk every two innings at each full-season level, and those woes could be exacerbated at the Major League level against even more patient bats. As a result of those control issues, he fell from No. 47 in MLB.com's overall rankings at the end of 2017 to his current spot at No. 70 and was passed by Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka as the best arms in the Atlanta system. However, he has been solid of late, allowing two earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out seven over six frames last Friday.

Atlanta, owner of a 24-32 record, could use the rotation help as it tries to stay afloat in the National League Wild Card race. The Braves put Bartolo Colon on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, but the veteran right-hander has been far from effective with a 7.78 ERA in 59 innings. Braves starters rank 29th in the Majors with a collective 5.00 ERA.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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