We take a look at Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright and why he could break out in the starting rotation in 2020.
Maybe one of the biggest questions for the Atlanta Braves going into the 2020 season is the starting rotation.
I feel like we're going to get the 2018 and end of 2019 version of Mike Foltynewicz, but that's still a question mark.
And I feel pretty confident that Max Fried will show he's a top of the rotation pitcher in 2020, but there is some uncertainty there.Related Story:Fried projected as best ATL starter in 2020?
But the fifth spot is certainly up for grabs, and Kyle Wright will have every opportunity to take hold of that spot and prove he's still an elite level player. I mean, he's still considered a top 50 prospect in all of baseball for a reason.
The Braves took him fifth overall in the 2017 MLB Draft and many have viewed him as a future top of the rotation pitcher.
In his first three seasons in the minors he certainly was heading that way with an ERA around 3 in his first 150 innings as a pro.
Atlanta rushed him up in 2018 and he held his own over 6 innings. And then he was thrust into the starting rotation to start the 2019 season because of injuries and things did not go well.
But some of you may not have noticed how well Wright pitched in the second half of 2019.
In his last 12 starts in Triple-A Gwinnett he posted a 2.57 ERA in 73.2 innings with 86 strikeouts and 22 walks. He threw 6 innings or more in nine of those 12 starts and only went less than 5 innings once.
Wright got called back up to Atlanta in September and pitched really well out of the bullpen giving up just 1 earned run on 2 hits and 0 walks over 3 innings with 4 strikeouts.
I wouldn't put too much stock in those September numbers considering they were in low-leverage situations out of the bullpen, but those numbers in Triple-A are certainly encouraging.
There has never been a question of Wright's stuff with a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider to go along with a curveball and change-up.
Even going back to his junior year in college, he's struggled with his command, and that's been elevated whenever he's gotten to the big leagues with 19 walks in just 25.2 Major League innings.
If he can get that under control and get back to his BB/9 norm in the minors of 3, then I think we see him become that top of the rotation pitcher.
It will be fun to watch in Spring Training to see if he can build off that second half in 2019 and take hold of that fifth spot in the rotation.