We see the official end of one era for the Atlanta Braves with Shane Greene being released. And hopefully the beginning of a new era with A.J. Minter.
With the Atlanta Braves bullpen a disaster to start the 2021 season fans were constantly frustrated with the team not bringing back Shane Greene.
The righty was an All-Star closer for the Detroit Tigers in 2019 when he posted a 1.18 ERA for them in 38 innings with 43 strikeouts and 22 saves.
Atlanta traded for him at the deadline hoping he would be their closer, but that didn’t work out as he scuffled in his first few outings and ultimately settled into a nice setup role.
He gave up 7 earned runs in his first six outings with the Braves, but then have a stretch of 13 straight scoreless outings in 2019.
Greene was up-and-down at the end of that September and then Brian Snitker never really trusted him in that postseason. In fact, the only games Greene pitched in were two losses.
I was surprised to see Snitker use Greene in the 6th inning of Game 1 in that NLDS against the Cardinals — even though it was a tie game.
That, to me, signalled that Snitker didn’t view Greene as a high-leverage reliever.
In hindsight, with Chris Martin eventually getting hurt, it would have been nice to have Greene as an option later in that game. But I’m clearly over that game.
He also pitched in Game 4 and allowed the Cardinals to tie it up in the 8th.
In the shortened 2020 season he was great until a rough September, which again, led to him not being used a lot in high-leverage situations in the playoffs.
Although, he was really good allowing just 1 earned run in 6 innings with 6 strikeouts and just 1 walk.
But Snitker’s use of him in the postseason always signified to me that he didn’t really trust Greene.
That seemed to play out as the Braves, or any other team, didn’t jump to sign Greene this past offseason despite his solid numbers.
His metrics show he’s been a bit lucky in his best years and is more a 4.00 ERA type of reliever. Still solid, but not a high-leverage dominant closer.
But the Braves were forced into a situation where they had to sign him during the 2021 season, and that just didn’t work out.
Greene posted an 8.47 ERA in 17 innings with a 1.82 WHIP because of 9 walks. We try not to make a big deal about it with relievers missing Spring Training, but the track record shows it doesn’t really work out.
We wish the best for Shane Greene going forward and hopefully with a full offseason and new opportunity he’ll find success in the big leagues again.
But his time with the Braves is over.
Braves Recall Minter — Is it his last chance?
This will now be Minter’s fifth season as part of the Braves — kind of hard to believe.
In 2017 he appeared in 16 games and posted a 3.00 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 15 innings — looking like the future closer of the team everyone thought he would be.
Then in 2018, he posted a solid 3.23 ERA in 61.1 innings with 69 strikeouts and 15 saves — maybe his best full season to date.
But in 2019 he struggled to the tune of a 7.06 ERA in 29.1 innings with a WHIP over 2. That led to serious questions about his future in Atlanta.
However, he bounced back in the truncated 2020 season and looked as sharp as ever giving up just 2 earned runs in 21.2 innings with 24 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.108.
And, of course, we all remember that brilliant 5 inning performance in the postseason.
Now in 2021 at 27 years old, the lefty is experiencing another subpar season with an ERA of 4.86 in 33.1 innings with 37 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.44.
The Braves sent him down to Triple-A and he could have done any better post 7.1 scoreless/hitless innings with 6 saves and 11 strikeouts.
We know the walks will be there with a BB% around 10, but he was giving up too many hits with an opponent batting average of .264.
The metrics will show that was a bit unlucky with an xBA of .214 and an xERA of 3.31.
Hopefully luck is on Minter’s side this time and he’s here to stay. This may be his last chance to prove he can be a valuable pieces of this bullpen moving forward.