With the bullpen situation becoming stagnant for the Atlanta Braves going into the 2021 season, there is one left handed arm that has the opportunity to repeat his 2020 success in order to be the shut down arm needed in late inning appearances.
One name that tends to get looked over many times by most media outlets is Tyler Matzek, who practically came out of nowhere last season and definitely made a name for himself in this bullpen.
Matzek has faced tough times so far in his tenure in the big leagues. Before the 2020 season, the last time he pitched at the Major League level was in 2015 with the Colorado Rockies.
In late 2016, Matzek elected free agency before signing with the Chicago White Sox a few months into 2017. He did not last long with them and was eventually released. In early 2018, Matzek would sign with the Seattle Mariners, but history seemed to repeat itself and he would be released shortly afterward toward the end of spring training.
A year later, the same would happen for Matzek with the Arizona Diamondbacks until finally signing with the Braves in late 2019. This is where he would find a spot to compete.
Unfortunately, Matzek had dealt with what is known as the “yips” in this long stretch of time. The yips basically causes a loss of skill in well versed athletes which cannot really be explained with a specific reason why it occurs.
But since, Matzek has been able to slowly put things back together and get a grip on his performances, which was definitely put on display in his 2020 season with the Braves.
In the span of 21 games, Matzek posted a 2.79 ERA, 43 SO, a WHIP of 1.138, a FIP of 1.92 within 29 innings. The guy came to play and did his part as best he could, being a help that no one really expected him to be in the first place.
Can Matzek repeat his success from 2020 in this new season? As no real big name additions were made this offseason for the bullpen, he definitely has the chance to be called on for more important tasks.