Atlanta Braves: 5 Players to Worry About Ahead of ‘23 Postseason

With everything going right for the Braves, we take a look at five players who could easily have things go wrong at the wrong time.

Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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5. Atlanta Braves Player to Worry About: Pierce Johnson

Pierce Johnson of the Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Angels v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves acquired Pierce Johnson from the Rockies at the trade deadline this year. He was the type of move you expected from a stacked team with a depleted farm system. Atlanta gave up Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon for the veteran reliever. But what exactly were they getting in return?

Johnson had an important role with the Rockies this season prior to the deadline. The Rockies' closer Daniel Bard left the team to deal with anxiety issues. Pierce Johnson came to the team on a one-year, $5 million deal and now found himself with an opportunity to close out games for the Rockies. He got his first shot in the second game of the season, March 31st at San Diego. In his sixth big-league season, Johnson had finally earned his first Major-League save.

Why Should Atlanta Braves Fans be Worried About Pierce Johnson?

Since the beginning of last season, Johnson has walked 5.1 batters per nine. In 68 appearances, he has a 3-8 record with a 4.81 ERA. Pierce has incredible strikeout stuff but he has lost control of it over the past two seasons. Since the beginning of last season, only one reliever (50 IP min) has a worse BB/9 on the Braves, and we'll get to him later.

Since the beginning of 2022, Pierce Johnson has a 1.63 WHIP. All the walks didn't help but he also allowed 9.6 hits per nine innings pitched. On top of that, he gave up over one homer per nine, as well. If it wasn't a strikeout, it wasn't good.

Like with many pitchers, as the walks increased, the other numbers suffered. Johnson has struggled with his control in the past year and a half. He was struggling with it when the Rockies sent him to the Braves. Atlanta must have felt like they had a magic elixir for him, and perhaps they did. But his success in Atlanta remains over a very small sample size.