4 high-leverage arms the Braves should already be targeting before trade deadline

The Braves may look to bolster their ailing bullpen before the deadline. One of these impact arms might make a brilliant addition.
Houston Astros v Washington Nationals
Houston Astros v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Camilo Doval

You might find the name Camilo Doval quite familiar and rightfully so. He has garnered a reputation as the Giants’ flamethrower closer despite the fact he hasn’t even thrown a four-seamer since 2021 when he threw only three (topping out at 104.5 mph).  His main pitch is his slider which he mixes with a cutter and a sinker. Four-seamers are generally the pitch with the highest velocity, but Doval has shown he doesn’t need one.

His slider averages in the high 80s this year and imitates the movement of a fastball until it approaches the plate forcing hitters to swing over it or ground it. His slider, since it is used most often, makes his sinker and cutter all the more devastating. His cutter ranges from the high 90s into triple-digit velocity with stunning movement. His sinker is thrown with high 90s velocity. Doval’s secondary offerings are yet to give up a hit so far this year.

His 2024 results aren’t so compelling thus far. He has a 3.52 ERA over 7.2 innings pitched. However, most of the damage came in the 0.2 innings he pitched in his season debut when he gave up two runs. Since then, he has looked more like his usual self. Since his call-up in 2021, he has maintained a career 2.81 ERA. This is after posting a 2.93 ERA through 67.2 innings last season.

The Giants are two games under .500 and are tied for 3rd in the NL West. While they aren’t underwater yet, they are going to need help both with pitching (27th in team ERA this year despite having Hicks and Webb in their rotation) and offensively if they are going to be competitive. Doval is a free agent after the 2027 season.

Seeing as how Doval still has ample time under their control, the Giants may choose to keep him since they are in need of pitching. To gain Doval, any offer the Braves make would need the potential to significantly shore up at least one of the Giants’ weak spots.

Ryan Pressly

Ryan Pressly, like the Houston Astros, is not having a good year. His ERA so far through 9.2 innings in 2024 is 7.45. These numbers are uncharacteristically bad for him. His career ERA stands at a solid 3.31. A pitcher with his talent isn’t likely to stay this bad for long. He is a top bounce-back candidate. Last year, he finished the year with a 3.58 ERA having pitched 65.1 innings; definitely not one of his best seasons. Like Doval, his main pitch is his slider.

Unlike most relievers, Pressly has a wide repertoire. Last year, he threw six different pitches (though some were rarely used). His main three-pitch mix includes his high 80s to low 90s slider, a curveball that sits in the low 80s, and a low to mid 90s four-seamer. Having a pitcher who can mix speeds and pitch types as well as he has in the past is definitely an advantage. Pressly as an Astro since 2018, has extensive postseason experience posting a career postseason ERA of 2.22.

The annual postseason behemoth Houston Astros seem to be in a difficult spot this year. They currently are in last place (7-18) in an AL West division where the top team is at .500. Pressly’s contract carries through this season with a vesting option for 2025 (meaning he needs to throw a certain number of innings this year or management can choose to decline his option thus making him a free agent; in other words, he is under club control through the 2025 season).

For any team watching, the short time horizon, struggling team, and a bad start for the player add up to a green light if they want to acquire Pressly for their bullpen. The Braves might have what it takes to rejuvenate Pressly’s career and they likely won’t need to part with much giving them enough flexibility to work out a deal to their liking.

The Braves bullpen will need help if they are going to be successful in the postseason. It is still early in the season, so management has time to scrupulously survey the field before the trade deadline. But, for now, it doesn't look like you can go wrong with any four of these arms.

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