Tomahawk Take Awards: We get the Braves Surprise Wright

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) makes his way to the bullpen before a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) makes his way to the bullpen before a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

It is baseball awards season, so the staff here at Tomahawk Take decided to put together a list of awards from the Atlanta Braves 2022 season and then vote on them as a group. We voted on:

Next up, our biggest surprise of the year. Who/what surprised us the most from this past season? We were allowed (encouraged) to think outside the box with some of our votes in this series. If we wanted to go purely on statistical performance, we could. If we wanted to vote based on intangibles, we could.

Feel free to join along and give us your votes in the comments! Also, if you have a topic/award you want us to vote on, suggest it and it can be added to this series.

The Votes

The official tally:

We get the Braves Surprise Wright

I think there were several candidates for “biggest surprise,” but I cannot be upset with the outcome here. Kyle Wright surpassed all expectations set upon him in 2022, even with most believing he was ready for a breakout season.

There was a time where it appeared most of the fanbase was ready to cast aside Kyle Wright. He was a guy people believed might need a change of scenery. Through his first 70 big league innings, he had a 6.56 ERA, 6.56 FIP, 5.73 xFIP, and 5.85 SIERA. He was worth -0.5 bWAR & -0.9 fWAR.

He went to Gwinnett and put in the work. When he got an opportunity during the 2021 World Series, he made the most of it. He came out of the bullpen and pitched 4.2 innings of 1 run ball that helped the Braves take a 3-1 lead and eventually win a championship. That moment can now be looked at as a career defining moment.

It had everyone excited for his 2022 season. However, I do not think we thought he would be this good in 2022. In 180.1 innings, he pitched to a 3.19 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 3.30 xFIP, and 3.48 SIERA. He racked up a 3.6 bWAR and 2.9 fWAR. He not only looked like a major league pitcher, but he also looked like a foundational piece of the rotation for years.

Also, while I do not hold much weight in pitching wins, it is pretty neat to see that Wright was the only pitcher with 20 pitching wins in all of baseball.

Wright got outshined by Max Fried being Max Fried and Spencer Strider’s emergence, but Wright was just as important to the Braves success en route to a 5th straight division title. Most teams would have loved to have a guy like Wright as their second guy. For the Braves, he is their third pitcher. Hopefully, we see him build upon his career year and continue to be the steady hand for the Braves in 2023.

The Braves other Surprises

It is not shocking to see Spencer Strider get some love here again. We were excited about the young pitching prospect, but he exceeded all expectations as well. He has gotten some love in this series and finishes second in the voting for the third time (4th if you count NL ROY). We do not need to go back over his stats as they have been highlighted in the last two editions.

Eric went with Vaughn Grissom. Nobody expected Grissom to make an impact for the Braves this past season. Even with the incredible work he was doing in the minors, he was only an option for the major leagues out of necessity. The Braves lost Ozzie Albies, then lost Orlando Arcia, and it became a serious question of who would play second base. Not many saw Grissom as an option but he handled it admirably. At the plate, Grissom hit .291/.353/.440 5 HR, 24 R, 18 RBI, 5 SB with a .345 wOBA and 121 wRC+ in 41 games. While he had his moments he looked like a rookie, he did his part in keeping the team afloat when they needed it most.

There are questions about his defense and where he might play long term. However, the Braves do have him working with Ron Washington this winter and have expressed they believe he can handle shortstop defensively long-term.

Fred chose Jesse Chavez. Chavez is a fitting way to end this because we all love some Jesse Chavez. The most popular journeyman middle reliever of all time was phenomenal in 2022… when in a Braves uniform. Take a look at this:

  • Chicago Cubs (April 10th-April 19th): 5.2 IP, 6.35 ERA, 5.41 FIP, 4.42 xFIP, & 4.98 SIERA
  • Atlanta Braves: (April 23rd-July 30th): 38.1 IP, 2.11 ERA, 2.54 FIP, 2.91 xFIP, & 2.71 SIERA
  • Los Angeles Angels (August 4th-August 28th): 10.2 IP, 7.59 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 4.03 xFIP, 3.95 SIERA
  • Atlanta Braves (September 2nd-October 5th): 14.2 IP, 4.30 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 3.44 xFIP, & 3.28 SIERA

Now, the Cubs & Angels were both short samples, plus the Cubs numbers are skewed by a bad opening outing. However, whenever he put on a Braves uniform, he was a different pitcher. Overall with the Braves he had a 2.72 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, & 2.86 SIERA.

Chavez was also a part of the deal that brought Raisel Iglesias to Atlanta. A pretty impactful year for the stylish reliever!

Up Next – The Braves Biggest Disappointment

It has been fun to highlight some of the positives of the Braves 2022 season. However, our next installment in this series sees us vote on who we thought was the biggest disappointment from the previous season.

Thanks for reading so far and stay tuned!

Next. Will the new rules in 2023 hurt Charlie Morton?. dark