Atlanta Braves DFA Ryan Flaherty select Bryse Wilson who starts tonight
By Fred Owens
The Braves continue to add young players to the roster and jettison deadwood by selecting the contract of Bryse Wilson while designating Ryan Flaherty for assignment and outrighting Chad Bell.
The Atlanta Braves selected Chad Bell off waivers from the Tigers on May 15 but he never pitched well enough at Gwinnett to force himself into a bullpen begging for quality left-handed pitching.
Ryan Flaherty started out playing third base regularly for the Braves. He led the league in hitting at the time the Braves sat him down for the failed Jose Bautista experiment. At that point, Flaherty might as well have been bat boy as manager Brian Snitker started him just four times and allowed him 47 PA in the 91 days after May 22.
The DFA of Flaherty is long overdue. Having a player on the bench you have no intention of giving a chance to succeed is simply bad management. Flaherty’s DFA leaves the bench a bat short for tonight’s game with the Pirates.
The rise of Bryse Wilson
If everyone wasn’t fixated on the success of Ronald Acuna they might well have been speaking in glowing term about Bryse Wilson.
Wilson’s rise through the system mimicked that of Ronald Acuna. He began the season with the Fire Frogs (A+); five starts later found himself with the AA M-Braves. In 15 games at Pearl, He posted a 3.97 ERA (2.77 FIP) in 77 IP, striking out 80 and walking 26 – two of those intentional.
Those numbers earned him a trip to Gwinnett. He made just three starts for the Stripers, throwing 20 innings, striking out 24 and walking two. Earlier this week Wilson dominated the Louisville Bats, facing 24 batters and striking out 13 without allowing a walk. He faced the minimum number of batters (24) as the one hit he allowed was erased in a double play.
What the Atlanta Braves expect
The Braves selected the six-foot, one-inch, 225-pound righty out of Durham North Carolina in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. You’ve probably guessed Wilson is a strike thrower, he’s also a heavy groundball pitcher who produced high groundball rates of 44% in AA and AAA this year.
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Wilson relies on a 60-grade fastball, a slider, and change. MLBPipeline ranks him # 13 among Braves prospects and is described as a bulldog on the mound.
"He is fearless on the mound and looks like he should have a solid three-pitch mix to attack hitters with. He typically pitches with a… fastball… up to 95 mph, but it plays up at times because of the power sink to it that leads to a ton of ground-ball outs. His slider got slurvish at times last year and sometimes will look more like a curveball, but he’s shown enough feel to spin a tighter slider and there is confidence that it will be an average, if not better, breaking ball. His changeup has improved and has a very good chance to be a third, at least Major League average, weapon."
Results this year suggest the slider did indeed improve and the fastball/slider combination should serve him well tonight.
These things don’t happen
Wilson at 20-years 243-days joins Acuña (20/182) and Mike Soroka (20/270) all as 20-year old players making their Major League debut as Braves this season.
Brandon McCarthy suggests a way to earn some money.
Mark Bowman tells us that Wilson is the youngest pitcher to start a game this season and the eighth youngest in the past 110 seasons.
That’s a wrap
The Braves made it clear this is a spot start allowing them to push all the starters back one day and try again to implement a six-man rotation. That would seem to pave the way for Touki Toussaint to take his place in the rotation after the Miami series.
The out-righting of Bell suggests to me they are going to add a bench piece after Wilson returns to Gwinnett. Whether that’s Michael Reed, Dustin Peterson or someone off the waiver wire we’ll have to wait and see.
Whoever they add we’ll keep you informed here at the Take.