"Atlanta General Manager Bobby Cox made it quite clear this was no token call-up....Atlanta decided to call up Glavine before last night's trade in which the A-Braves dealt veteran right-hander Doyle Alexander to Detroit for minor league pitcher John Smoltz, a 20-year-old right-hander who had a 4-10 record with a 5.68 ERA with the Tigers' Class AA Glens Falls, N.Y., farm.Smoltz had a 7-6 record with a 3.56 ERA at Lakeland, the Tigers' farm in the Class A Florida State League, last year. According to Baseball America, he was the fifth best major league prospect in the league."
"Not since 1977 have a National League team allowed more runs than the Atlanta Braves did in 1987. And in 1988, the Braves are desperate for pitching.No words could be more discouraging, but they are the essence of a team planning for 1990 and beyond but apparently destined for a fifth straight losing season....Lefthander Tom Glavine, 22, showed enough promise in nine late-season starts to earn a spot in the rotation, but he needs to keep more runners off base - he averaged 15.7 per nine innings."
"Glavine, only 23, is a skinny (6-0, 175 pounds) left-hander with some pop on his fastball. The Braves will give him every opportunity in the world to become a steady, starting pitcher. The Braves would give Venus de Milo every opportunity in the world to become a steady, starting pitcher."
"Ted Turner was invited to the 50th anniversary celebration of the making of Gone With the Wind in Atlanta. That will just have to do as his World Series for another decade or so. The Braves are a bad baseball team and unlikely to get much better despite rumors, most of them coming from Georgia, that some young arms on the Atlanta staff are ready for greatness. Why now?...Tom Glavine (14-8, 2.68) is the new Rick Mahler. He will take 30 pitching turns, win a couple more than he loses, keep his team in the game and never have a really big year. Pete Smith (5-14, 4.75), John Smoltz (12-11, 2.94), and rookie Gary Eave (13-3, 2.80 at Richmond) will give the Braves some competitive starters."
"Other than the 33-year-old Leibrandt, all of the likely Atlanta starters have yet to celebrate their 25th birthday. And the best of the bunch is the youngest, 22-year-old righthander John Smoltz.Smoltz is considered the backbone of the Braves' pitching-rich organization. He won 12 games in 1989, his first full season in the major leagues, and is expected to surpass that this summer. His 2.94 earned-run average was the best by an Atlanta starter since 1978.Next in line is Tom Glavine, who will turn 24 in March. Glavine developed into one of the league's finest lefthanders with a staff-high 14 wins and a respectable 3.68 ERA last year."
"The Braves have the league's best starting rotation, a solid bullpen and a potent offense......[The Rotation:] it's young and it's good. A Huck Finn look-alike won 20 games and the Cy Young Award, a quielty confident 21-year-old dazzled his way to 18 victories, a soft-tossing veteran won 15 games and pitcher with shaky confidence re-discovered his game after visiting psychologist....Glavine returns as the No. 1 starter after a season in which he started the All-Star Game, won a World Series game and became the first Brave to win the Cy Young Award since Warren Spahn in 1957. Glavine owed his success to the development of a devastating changeup, which allowed him to throw his average fastball by unsuspecting hitters. The result was 192 strikeouts and a 2.55 earned-run average, both figures third-best in the National League."
"This year, with the addition of Greg Maddux, Atlanta should be even more dominating. This year, with a pitching staff that is as strong as any in recent baseball history, the Braves should be able to make it through the World Series as a winner.Maddux (20-11, 2.18 with the Cubs) was romanced by the Yankees before turning south and signing with Atlanta. He said he wanted to win. The Braves have won two pennants in a row and should win a title this year as baseball's best on the strentgh of an exceptional staff. Maddux, Tommy Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery are all capable of 20 victories and 200 strikeouts. Maddux and Glavine have each won a Cy Young Award, and the other two cannot be far behind."
"If the Braves play their cards right, they could have the league's most dominant rotation for many years to come. The average age of their five starters (incluindg No. 5 starter Pete Smith) is 25, and last season they combined for a record of 73-42....In Maddux, the Braves acquired a pitcher who has averaged 251 innings per year for the last five seasons and won a league-high 87 games over that stretch. He has been described as a righthanded Glavine, a pitcher who doesn't have an overpowering fastball but uses impeccable control and an outstanding changeup to keep hitters off-balance.Glavine, the 1991 NL Cy Young Award winner, might have added a second Cy Young to his trophy case last season had not a cracked rib (suffered in August) sidelined him for several starts. He still won 20 games for the second consecutive year.Smoltz won a career-high 15 games but continued his cycle of pitching well for a half a season, then disappearing. He won only five games after the All-Star break, none after September 7. It was the reverse of the previous year, when Smoltz started poorly and finished strong."
"The current rotation accounts for the last six Cy Young Awards, although Greg Maddux won his first Cy, in 1992, with the Chicago Cubs. That's no big deal. He won his next three for Atlanta, before fellow righthander John Smoltz ended his reign last year. Either pitcher could well claim it this season, or lefthander Tom Glavine, a candidate every season, could snatch it.Smoltz was 24-8 with a 2.94 ERA and 276 strikeouts, tops in the majors. He says he had his best season because at last he had a surgically repared, healthy elbo. Surely, there is no reason to think Maddux (15-11, 2.72) and Glavine (15-10, 2.98) won't pitch at least as well."