Coffee and Clippings: Braves have an ace in Kris Medlen

Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) of ESPN writes that the Braves have an ace in Kris Medlen…

The Braves haven’t announced anything. But Medlen appears on track to be the Braves’ Opening Day starter. There’s a reason for that.

It’s the same reason he started their first game of the postseason in each of the past two Octobers. It’s the same reason they’ve found a way to go 30-14 in his regular-season starts over the past two years.

And the reason is: Kris Medlen is on the road to being something special, one of those rare pitchers who is more than the sum of his radar-gun readings.

John Harper (@NYDNHarper) of the NY Daily News writes that if the Mets want to win 90 games, they need to turn to Noah Syndergaard…

It didn’t take long for Terry Collins to plant the seed. Noah Syndergaard was still icing his shoulder following a dazzling five-strikeout stint in the Mets’ intrasquad game, and the manager already seemed to be implying that it won’t be easy to keep him off the Opening Day roster.

“There’s going to be some more (internal) discussion about him as we get into this camp,” Collins said, “because he’s going to light some eyes up, no question about it.”

Feel free to read that as him saying: “Please let me have the kid.”

Tim Britton (@TimBritton) of the Providence Journal breaks down the next generation of Red Sox pitchers…

Much has changed — obviously — in the intervening time. Perhaps the most remarkable development over that stretch, though, has been the emergence of a wealth of young pitching on Boston’s farm. The Red Sox have a stable rotation going into the season barring injury, and they should have a set rotation at Pawtucket as well, full of pitchers capable of contributing in the majors this season.

As this next generation of Sox pitchers gets to strut its stuff this spring, here’s a rundown of where they all stand:

RHP Brandon Workman, 25

Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) of Joe Blogs talks about the idea of shrinking the strike zone…

Frank based his commentary on a simple premise: There are too many strikeouts in baseball these days. He thinks it is making the game boring. To fix this, his solution is fairly simple: Shrink home plate. Frank’s idea is to cut an inch and a half off each side of the plate, making it 14 inches across instead of the 17 inches it is now.

So much to talk about here.

Question 1: Are there too many strikeouts in today’s game?

Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) of FanGraphs breaks down 2014 payroll allocation by position…

Today, in Part Two, I break down the payrolls even further, into four component parts: the starting rotation, the starting lineup, the bullpen and the bench. In so doing, I made a judgment on who was likely to slot into these roles to start the season. FanGraphs’ Depth Charts and MLB Depth Charts were my go-to sources, but I made a deliberate decision to exclude all non-roster invitees from Opening Day rosters, as those players’ salaries aren’t included on Cot’s Contracts. Invariably, some of my judgment calls will be wrong. Feel free to note those in the comments, as many did yesterday in Part One.