3:32pm: Manager Brian Snitker confirmed to reporters that Allard will indeed make his Major League debut Tuesday (Twitter link via Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). A corresponding 40-man move remains unclear and likely won’t be known until after tonight’s game.
1:35pm: The Braves will promote top pitching prospect Kolby Allard to make his Major League debut and start tomorrow’s game against the Marlins, reports David O’Brien of The Athletic (via Twitter). O’Brien had recently tweeted that Allard was a candidate to make his MLB debut in a spot start this week. Allard isn’t on the 40-man roster, so the Braves will need to make a corresponding move to accommodate his promotion.
Allard will become the second 20-year-old starter to make his debut for the Braves in 2018, joining fellow 2015 first-rounder Mike Soroka in that regard. Allard didn’t rank as highly on most midseason prospect rankings as he did when his stock was at its peak, but he still checks in 93rd overall per Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com, and it’s hard to argue with the results that he’s delivered this season in his first exposure to Triple-A.
Through 109 1/3 innings at that level, Allard has worked to a 2.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.49 HR/9 and a 38.8 percent ground-ball rate in 18 starts. Allard hasn’t missed bats like he did in the lower minors since reaching Double-A, and he does bring a history of back injuries to the Braves, but he’s a potential mid-rotation arm who’ll add yet another high-upside piece to a growing collection of starting options on the Braves’ 40-man roster.
Given the timing of Allard’s promotion, he’ll be controllable through at least the 2024 season for the Braves, though that could push into 2025, depending on how much time he spends at the big league level in each of the next few seasons. He wouldn’t be on track for Super Two status as things stand, though as with his path to free agency, that could change depending on how often (if at all) he’s shuttled back and forth between Triple-A Gwinnett and the Majors.
In what looks to be a very temporary move, Allard will step into a rotation that also features Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Julio Teheran, Anibal Sanchez and Max Fried, though there’s been enough uncertainty at the back of the rotation that he could work his way into a more permanent role. The Braves have been tied to a variety of pitching upgrades as tomorrow’s non-waiver trade deadline approaches, and it remains to be seen just how their pitching staff will look following that 4pm cutoff.
That said, now that Allard is on the 40-man roster, he’ll join Fried, Luiz Gohara and several others who’ve oscillated between Gwinnett and Atlanta this season as the Braves have patched together both the bullpen and the back of their rotation. And, of course, his addition to the 40-man roster means he’ll be a lock to join the club at some point as a September call-up as well.