Report card time: 2019 pitching grades for Atlanta Braves
Rest of the bullpen
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Here are grades for the rest of the Atlanta Braves’ relievers. At the bottom of this slide, I’ve included the twelve Braves’ relievers who pitched in less than 20 games in 2019.
LHP / A.J. Minter: GRADE: D
36 appearances, 29.1 innings, 3-4, 5 saves, 7.06 ERA, 10.74 K/9, 7.06 BB/9, -0.1 WAR
It was a lost season for Minter, as he never seemed to get right after a late-February shoulder issue, stemming from a fender-bender right before Spring Training.
After a career year in 2018 (1.4 WAR), the 26-year-old hard throwing lefty lost almost a full mph off his fastball this season (96.9 mph in 2018 to 96.1).
RHP / Chad Sobotka: GRADE: D
32 appearances, 29 innings, 6.21 ERA, 11.79 K/9, 5.90 BB/9, -0.3 WAR
Walks, walks and walks… that has always been Sobotka’s problem (career 4.63 BB/9). And in 2019, it was as well.
Even worse, the 6-foot-7, 26-year-old couldn’t get it done in high-leverage situations in 2019, as he walked only 2.45 batters per nine in medium-leverage but 13.50 when things got stressful.
RHP / Shane Greene: GRADE: B-
27 games, 24.2 innings, 0-1, 1 save, 4.01 ERA, 7.66 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 0.2 WAR
He wasn’t as effective as Chris Martin and Mark Melancon was once brought over to the Atlanta Braves, but Greene pitched well versus right-handed batters, allowing just a .154 average.
Greene also had some problems when the leverage increased, allowing a .583 SLG% in high-leverage situations, as opposed to a .280 mark in medium situations. But that walk-rate, though!
RHP / Dan Winkler: GRADE: C-
27 games, 21.2 innings, 3-1, 4.98 ERA, 9.14 K/9, 4.57 BB/9, -0.3 WAR
Another strong pitcher in 2018, walks plagued Winkler, which resulted in his demotion to Triple-A by the middle of June and his eventual trade to the San Francisco Giants (with Tristan Beck) as part of the Melancon deal.
RHP / Mark Melancon: GRADE: A+
23 games, 21.0 innings, 1-0, 11 saves, 3.86 ERA, 10.29 K/9, 0.86 BB/9, 0.7 WAR
Coming over from the Giants at the trade deadline, Melancon wound up with the second-most WAR amongst Braves’ relievers, despite pitching just a quarter of the innings.
He was even stronger in the final month of season, facing his final 40 batters and allowing just one XBH on his way to a 1.74 ERA in September.
RHP / Touki Toussaint: GRADE: C
23 games, 40.1 innings, 4-0, 4.24 ERA, 9.60 K/9, 5.58 BB/9, -0.1 WAR
I’m not ready to give up on Touki as a starter, but it’s rather apparent that the Braves’ No. 8 prospect has regressed. His walk-rate in the majors is now an ugly 5.99 per nine, and even though he has a nasty curveball, he won’t progress in the big leagues until he can consistently throw strikes.
RHP / Chris Martin: GRADE: A
20 appearances, 17.2 innings, 1-1, 4.08 ERA, 11.21 K/9, 0.51 BB/9, 0.5 WAR
He broke our heart when he injured himself while warming up in the NLDS, but Martin was crazy-good during his short stint with the Atlanta Braves.
Small sample sizes or not… the 33-year-old had the best walk-rate among bullpen regulars and when the games mattered most he delivered. In 2019, Martin faced 38 batters in high-leverage situations, allowing just a .229 average.
He was hot in September also, allowing only two of the 17 batters he faced to record a hit (.118 BAA).
Here are grades for Braves’ relievers that failed to reach my arbitrary 20-game cutoff in 2019:
|PLAYER / GAMES||ERA / WAR||GRADE|
|Wes Parsons||3.52 / -0.3||C-|
|Jesse Biddle||5.40 / -0.1||C-|
|Grant Dayton||3.00 / -0.1||B-|
|Jonny Venters||17.36 / -0.4||F|
|Darren O’Day||1.69 / 0.1||A|
|Jeremy Walker||1.93 / 0.1||B|
|Shane Carle||9.64 / -0.4||F|
That leaves five more Braves’ relievers… all with less than 5 relief appearances in 2019:
- Arodys Vizcaino (4 G)
- Kyle Wright (3 G)
- Max Fried (3 G)
- Huascar Ynoa (2 G)
- Bryse Wilson (2 G)
So there’s my 2019 Atlanta Braves pitching grades as well as the end of this year’s Report Cards series. Feel free to share your 2019 grades in the comments section below.
All stats and usage of WAR were derived from FanGraphs.