Atlanta Braves 2023 season review: Michael Tonkin

The Braves had an early surprise with Tonkin's performance but things went downhill for the right-handed reliever.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Michael Tonkin was fairly unknown coming into the 2023 season with the Atlanta Braves. He ended up being an important part of the Atlanta bullpen, serving as a long-relief option. He did pitch for the organization during the 2022 season but that was spent with the Gwinnett Stripers.

His impressive 3.17 ERA performance over 48.1 innings in 2022 impressed Atlanta enough to add him to the roster for the 2023 season.

Tonkin did a really good job early on for the Braves and provided them with some important outings. Unfortunately, that did not last and he struggled towards the end of the season. Let's examine how Tonkin got to Atlanta and what happened last season.

The right-hander finished with a 4.28 ERA through 80 innings including 23 walks and 75 strikeouts. That was a career-high for Tonkin as it relates to innings pitched. 2023 was also his first season back in the big leagues since he pitched for the Twins in 2017.

He did a good job in April but he never could find consistency outside of that. April ended with a 2.51 ERA through 14.1 innings. May is when things went sour as he compiled a 4.50 ERA over 12 innings pitched. The next month he improved drastically pitching to a 1.42 ERA over 12.2 innings but again he could not sustain that into July earning a 4.30 ERA.

He found consistency after that but not in the way he or the Braves would have liked. His ERA in August was 4.26 and things fell apart in September and October. Tonkin's final month saw a ballooned 8.56 ERA over 13.2 innings.

Tonkin also pitched better on the road than he did at Truist Park. Through 23 home games, he achieved a 4.50 era versus a 4.00 ERA over 22 away games. It's tough because Tonkin had a great first half with an overall 2.66 ERA over that time frame. The second half was just dreadful with an overall ERA of 6.25.

Realistically, the Braves got more than they probably expected from Tonkin but the landing was rough. It led to the Braves non-tendering Tonkin and sent him back into free agency. Tonkin did land a 1-year $1 million contract with the New York Mets for 2024.

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