Atlanta Braves: should we be worried about Bryse Wilson?

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 20: Bryse Wilson #72 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 20, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 20: Bryse Wilson #72 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 20, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The results just haven’t been there yet this season for the Braves 10th-ranked prospect. Is it still too soon to matter?

There have been some very weird storylines for the Atlanta Braves so far in the most recently completed portion of the 2019 Major League season. Usually that’s the way it starts out, right?  Although, this year it does feel a bit extra bizarre.

The Boston Red Sox haven’t looked anywhere close to a World Series crown bearer; the Yankees have roughly 12 players on the IL at the moment; the Seattle Mariners are bashing like crazy and breaking home run records, while winning 13 of their first 16 games (through Friday night) and the Padres have the most wins in the NL.

Yep, it’s definitely April. Small sample sizes and large amounts of health issues have been causing all sorts of craziness thus far. Most of this will surely straighten out.

But, there’s something that’s a bit concerning to me in regards to a certain Atlanta Braves prospect — one of my favorite prospects in fact.

Bryse with an ‘S’

Starting-pitcher prospect, Bryse Wilson, is struggling pretty badly at the moment.

21-year-old Bryse Wilson is now starting his 4th season as a member of the Braves organization, and should’ve been pretty dang happy with himself this past winter after pitching excellently in three different levels of the minor leagues, and also one strong major league debut in 2018.

Overall in the minors last year, Wilson pitched to a 3.44 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 across 23 starts and two relief appearances. He showcased numbers of a pitcher that belongs in the group of top-tier talent; guys like Kyle Wright, Max Fried and the Toukis of the world.

Wilson is a guy that isn’t afraid to attack the zone and go after hitters with his best stuff, showed by his consistency to maintain low walk-rates and his acquirement of a ‘Bull Dog’ personality on the mound.

He carried over that mentality this past Spring, where he made 4 starts and one relief appearance, striking out 13 and walking only two in 13.2 innings for the Braves. The Bull Dog was back for another ride in 2019.

However, there were some warning signs:  in those 13.2 innings-pitched in Spring Training, Bryse Wilson surrendered 3 home runs (or 7.9 HR/9). That’s worrisome, especially considering that through one big league start and two Triple-A starts he’s been once again susceptible to the long ball.

Is he attacking too much? Is he staying in the zone too often and challenging hitters a little more than he should? Is it something else?

Low walk-rates are great. I think after the 2018 season all Braves fans could attest to that statement. But there needs to be a balance or a line drawn in the sand. Too many strikes can lead to too many pitches to hit, which is just more negative possibilities for a pitcher.

So far the inconsistency is apparent: in his first major league start this season, Bryse Wilson only lasted 3.1 innings versus the Phillies, a very tough lineup nonetheless; but 5 hits, four earned runs and one homer later, Wilson was pulled from the game and the Braves suffered a 6-8 loss.

His 4 walks showed that he wasn’t exactly throwing too many strikes, but the two doubles and a triple mixed in with those 5 hits showed that Philly hitters were squaring him up when he did.

Moving along to his first two starts in Gwinnett this season (his last one being Thursday), Wilson has made it deeper into games and actually pitched rather well in his first start on April 5; where he pitched 5 innings and struck out six, surrendering one home run and 5 hits. A total of three earned-runs.

He actually somewhat struggled to throw strikes in that game against the Norfolk Tides (55 strikes in 95 pitches), but overall a six-strikeout night with 3 earned-runs isn’t too shabby.

This past Thursday, though, Wilson was roughed up. In 6 innings, he allowed 2 homers and six runs from 8 hits, while punching out four batters. He didn’t walk anyone and once again: 95-ish pitches (96 to be exact), but this time 64 strikes.

He threw more strikes than the previous start, but the results got worse.

Granted, his opponent in his first start was different than in his second start, as Thursday he faced the Louisville Bats instead of Norfolk. It could be that the Louisville hitters were better, or that he just didn’t have it on Thursday.

All of this is an extreme example of small-sample sizes, as I mentioned above. There’s no way to determine if Bryse Wilson is going to have a good, bad or terrible 2019 season in just 3 starts.

All I’m wondering is if we should be worried, because it looks to be a little bit of a cause-and-effect at the moment. When Wilson throws more strikes he has more negative results, so far.

I didn’t get the chance to watch Bryse Wilson’s starts live in Gwinnett because like many fans — life gets in the way of baseball. But I’m definitely intrigued right now as to what may be going on with him, if there even is anything.

This is the time of the season where many fans begin to become dramatic and even downright hyperbolish when it comes to recent results, and I may be doing just that at the moment. But it does seem concerning when a player such as Bryse Wilson — coming off of a tremendous performance last season — shows signs of ineffectiveness in two out of his first three starts.

This could end up being absolutely nothing, like how Chris Sale struggled to throw a 90 mph fastball a few weeks ago; or how the Mariners look to be World Beaters at the moment. It’s still early and maybe Bryse Wilson is just getting started.

After all, I would hate to fall victim to such a misleading size of data. There’s still so much more season left to go. But I’ll admit, I’m a little worried.

Next. Maybe worry about the lineup instead?. dark

Do you think we should be worried?