Braves May Shuffle the Bullpen Again


Mar 21, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino (38) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Braves 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

David O’Brien reported this afternoon that Arodys Vizcaino was activate at Gwinnett today. What does this mean for the bullpen?

The Bullpen Shuffle Version 4 no wait 5  or 6 or…

Vizcaino’s activation is sure to set off speculation about the arrival of the  hard throwing but frequently injured reliever.  Fresh off an 80 game suspension for PED use and a rehab stint Vizcaino joins the Gwinnett bullpen tonight..

During his rehab with Rome and Mississippi Vizzy appeared in six games posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.286 WHIP.  His work in Pearl may be more reflective of his performance than the combined numbers.  At Pearl he appeared in four games posting a 1.80 ERA and 0.600 WHIP in five innings.

That’s really not a big enough sample size to say a player is ready to pitch in the big leagues so I expect him to get a few appearances under his belt with the G-Braves before he makes his appearance in Atlanta. When he’s proven he’s ready to face hitters regularly one has to assume he will be called up. the next question is when he comes up who goes down?

Bullpens that bloom in June

As badly as twitter screams when Fredi Gonzales goes to the bullpen, most of the bad actors have left and the latest iteration has been pretty good.


Part of that was the Braves allowing Brandon Cunniff to continue pitching while carrying as injury. Since his arrival David Aardsma has been solid and as badly as fans think he pitches so has Luis Avilan.

Jim Johnson looks like his old self again – the last time I said that he went in the tank for a week – getting ground ball out and hold teams in check waiting for Jason Grilli. Grilli causes apoplexy for fans and his skipper because he rarely has a clean inning but he has 22 saves with only two blown saves.

The RHP with the worst numbers since arrival is Nick Masset and barring injury would be the most likely to leave. Except . . .the trade deadline is approaching.

The thing so many teams need is late inning bullpen help. That makes JJ and Grilli the most likely to be asked about and to find a new home. Vizcaino’s stuff is good enough to step in should either man be dealt.

On Another Note, Pete is injured

The other news in O’Brien’s post was about fan favorite Peter Moylan. Pete’s been trying to find out if he has the necessary stuff to make it back to the bigs. Since moving to Gwinnett he’s pitched to a 4.09 ERA and a 1.485 WHIP in 11IP striking out 10 and walking 6. The numbers aren’t sterling and to make it worse he injured his hamstring. I like Pete but that coaching idea is looking better and better.

That’s A Wrap

I know a lot of folks will want Vizcaino up immediately  but it’s a much better idea to allow him to work himself back into game shape. Last year’s control issues did not appear solved in spring training resulting in his assignment to Gwinnett prior to the suspension. The Braves will want to  know he can throw strikes consistently before bringing him up.

The potential for a trade or three will keep the Braves from acting as quickly now as they would have in April or May. That’s why I doubt there’s any immediate movement. Whatever happens we’ll let you know as soon as we get the news so stay tuned here at the Take.

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