Atlanta Braves Bullpen Faltering. Solutions? Kohn/Cornely promoted
The NEW (and improved?) Atlanta Braves Bullpen
The roles need to be refined, pitchers put back to their strengths, and bring in some new blood to mix it up! 7 spots to fill!
1. Long man/Spot Starter, Cody Martin: Cody has 4 pitches while most relievers have only 2, maybe 3. Reason is simple: Cody isn’t a reliever. Cody’s 4 pitches are average Major League pitches and would be best utilized when opposing teams see him 1 time per series, not multiple times. Used as a spot starter/long man in relief, Cody could be a carbon-copy to David Hale.
2. 6th-7th inning guy, Luis Avilan: My favorite story of the offseason comes from Luis Avilan who called Eric O’Flaherty asking for advice on how to rediscover his “stuff”. O’Flaherty replied, “Get in shape, you’re too fat”. Avilan has looked pretty doggone good thus far and deserves a role that doesn’t tie him down to just facing left-handed hitters as he’s shown he can be effective against all hitters.
3. Other 6th-7th inning guy, Brandon Cunniff: Has got to get the walks down, but aside from that, Cunniff has proven that he’s capable of sending Major Leaguers back to the bench with frowny faces. He’s essentially doing the same thing in the MLB that he showed in the MILB and deserves a defined role.
4. The LOOGY, Ian Thomas: He’s been walk prone in his 12 innings in the MLB, but that’s never been a problem for Ian in the Minors. Give him a chance as the team’s LOOGY because he has shown that he’s very capable of getting LHHs out in the Minors.
5. The Ground Ball Specialist, Jim Johnson: Johnson’s true calling is his ability to get a ground ball from opposing hitters. He’s been great as a closer in the past, but has struggled with 8th inning duties. Let’s get him some chances to succeed in a role his sinker is made for…double plays.
6. The 8th inning guy, Michael Foltynewicz: Yes, Folty has struggled with walks, but in a clean slate inning, Folty could be a top-tier reliever. While his ceiling is a front of the rotation starter, his true calling for Atlanta might be in a closer’s role. Let’s see how successful he can be in the 8th, then decide his future role from there.
(*Note on this move: Frequent commenter and former writer for Tomahawk Take, Lee Trocinzki informed me that Folty’s arb-clock has already started due to his call-up being prior to the September roster expansions last year).
7. The closer, Jason Grilli: He’s been nothing short of spectacular since taking over for Craig Kimbrel, therefore his role deservedly remains the same.