Grading The Atlanta Braves Bullpen
The Atlanta Braves no doubt added depth to its bullpen while removing the top-tier guys to save cash. The signing of Billy Wagner made it clear that the Braves were giving the reigns to a new leader. Behind him are a rotation of former starters and closers, middle relievers and a one-time top prospect.
Billy Wagner(1-0, 3 ERA, 1 save)
Wagner already has blown a save for the Atlanta Braves but he rebounded strong with a win against the Phillies. It’s nice to see a guy come off a serious injury and strike out Ryan Howard with a 96 mph fastball. One blown save doesn’t sink the ship. He’s been solid so far.
Pete Moylan (1-0, 0 ERA)
Moylan is always pretty solid. Right now he has given up six hits and two walks in in 6.2 inning. He also has six strikeouts. He is the perfect set up man for the Braves and rarely disappoints. The Braves are lucky to have him.
Takashi Saito (0-0, 0 ERA, 8 Ks in 5 innings)
Saito could be the closer on half of the teams in baseball right now. He’s been great for the Braves so far. His .40 WHIP is amazing and he had 39 saves for the Dodgers just three years ago. If anything happens to Wagner, Saito steps right in. He is quickly paying off for the Braves.
Eric O’Flaherty ( 1-0, 1.35 ERA, 7 games )
Gee, a guy in the bullpen with an actual ERA. Kidding aside, O’Flaherty is doing all right. He’s a lefty who is getting about one strike out per inning. That matches what the rest of the guys seem to be doing, making him a member of one of baseball’s top bullpens.
Kris Medlen (0-1, 2.89 ERA)
The loss to the Giants is the main reason Medlen has a lower grade. He is striking out batters and showing great control, but you have to keep the team in games. The loss hurt and the Braves went on to lose the series.
Jonny Venters (3 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts)
Venters was called up pretty quick and some say he is the Braves next closer. Well, if that is the case maybe Bobby Cox should have kept him in the minors for a little longer.
Jo-Jo Reyes (1 game, 24 ERA)
Reyes is on the 15-day disabled list and his career is likely over with the Braves. If it is not, then Bobby Cox is crazy. Reyes was a one-time pitching prospect for the Braves who has had three years to show the world his great stuff. Well, he’s possibly one of the biggest disappointments from the Braves farm system in awhile. He is not MLB material.
Jesse Chavez (0-0, 1.42 ERA, 7 Ks in 6.1 innings)
A young kid with decent power, Chavez has shown that he deserves a spot on this bullpen. He did struggle in the series with the Giants, but so did a few members of the Braves bullpen.
Overall, the Braves have acquired a solid bullpen that has kept the 8-5 Braves in all but one game this year. If Wagner stays healthy and Moylan isn’t asked to do more than he is now, this might be the best bullpen in the National League.