The Atlanta Braves had one of the best pitching rotations in all of baseball in the 1990s, but one of the pitchers in that legendary Braves rotation believes there is a young rotation out there that is more talented than his own.
Forthcoming Hall of Famer John Smoltz believes that as good as his ’90s Braves rotation was, the New York Mets have something even more special brewing in the Big Apple.
"They’re way better," Smoltz said of the Mets. "They’ve got more talent than we could ever have."
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The 1993 Braves in particular, which included Steve Avery and Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine in addition to Smoltz, was one of the best in baseball history.
The rotation, which included three All-Stars in Smoltz, Glavine, and Avery, and a Cy Young winner in Maddux, combined for a 75-33 record with a league-leading 3.14 ERA, propelling the Braves to their first 100-win season (104-58) since 1898.
Although Smoltz believes the Mets rotation is immensely talented, he’s ponders whether they’ll be able to actualize their potential given the restrictions placed on modern-day starters.
"The opportunities that exist today won’t allow a lot of staffs to find out what kind of staff they can be. That’s the shame of the game. The injuries have taken over. The inability to learn how to pitch [and] fast-tracking a lot of kids," Smoltz said. "There’s no doubt that the dynamic arms are way better than we’ve ever seen. And the issue is how long can we keep them healthy and how long can they stick together financially? What we did in the era that we did, we take a lot of pride in it. We worked really hard and we didn’t miss a lot of starts.
"We’ve anointed people a little too quickly in this game. And they don’t have the ability to wait and learn and have a fair shake at the game. … Everybody wants quick results, expectations through the roof. And that’s what these guys are fighting today. They’re not giving them a chance to fail too often. And when they do, what happens?"