Everything you need to know about newest Atlanta Braves RHP Taylor Widener

We give you a rundown of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Braves' newest pitcher Taylor Widener. A breakdown of his minor league, Major League, and KBO stats. What to expect from Taylor Widener in 2024 with the Braves.
San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves have signed RHP Taylor Widener to a minor league deal. Widener is 29 years old and was drafted by the Yankees in 2016 then traded to the Diamondbacks in February of 2018. He has worked as both a reliever and a starter throughout his career. Widener started 13 games in 2021 then worked solely as a reliever for the Diamondbacks in 2022.

Taylor Widener was Arizona's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018

Widener capped off his first season with the Diamondbacks organization by mowing down the competition in Double-A. He was named the Diamondbacks' organizational Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Widener finished the 2018 campaign with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.035 WHIP over 25 starts. Over 137.1 innings he struck out 176 batters, good for an 11.6 K/9IP. He walked just 2.8 batters per nine innings for Double-A Jackson that season.

Taylor Widener has rough 2019 in Triple-A Reno

Widener's incredible 2018 season did not translate to Triple-A Reno the following year. He started 23 games and pitched 100.0 innings on the dot. He finished with a disheartening 8.10 ERA. His walks per nine increased from 2.8 to 3.7 but the Triple-A hitters were lighting him up with the bats. Widener went from giving up about 6.5 hits per nine the previous two seasons to 12.0 in his first Triple-A stint.

Taylor Widener's Major League Resume

Widener was able to impress the Diamondbacks enough to get the call in 2020. He came up as a reliever that year and pitched 20.0 innings. The following season he made 13 starts in 23 appearances, working as a reliever and a starter for the Diamondbacks. In 2022, he was back to relief duties.

Widener has 107.1 innings of major league work under his belt with a 4.26 ERA. He has struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings pitched over his big-league career thus far. His largest single-season sample size was in 2021 when he pitched 70.1 innings over 13 starts and 23 appearances. That season, he posted a 4.35 ERA and a 9.3 K/9IP. His career FIP indicates he might have had some luck on his side as it is 1.28 higher than his earned run average.

Taylor Widener spent 2023 in the KBO

In February of 2023, Taylor Widener was released by the Diamondbacks. Widener made the jump to the KBO and pitched for two different South Korean clubs. He was released by the NC Dinos in August and finished the season with the Samsung Lions. Widener made 20 starts between the two clubs and finished with a 4.54 ERA. It is worth noting that he posted a 60.4% groundball rate, nearly doubling his major league GB rate of 33.5%. The average GB% in the MLB is 42.7%.

Taylor Widener Statcast

Taylor Widener's 2022 (largest sample size) Statcast numbers leave a lot to be desired. The only metric he graded out in the top half of the league in was extension. Widener is only 6'0 tall, so that's impressive but it doesn't translate to production. Despite a 60.4% GB rate in Korea last season, he ranked in the 14th percentile in the majors in 2022.

He walked 11.6% of the batters he faced, good (or bad) for the 15th percentile. His chase rate of 22.8% was in the fifth-percentile of the league. His average fastball velocity of 92.6 mph was in the 32nd percentile. His xERA was 5.54, which was the 10th percentile in all of baseball. There is a ton of blue on his Baseball Savant page.

His hard-hit rate of 45% was in the ninth percentile and his barrel rate wasn't much better. While, he posted decent strikeout numbers on a per nine innings basis, his 9.3 K/9IP might seem inflated due to the amount of men he allowed on base. His actual strikeout percentage was in the bottom of half (46th percentile) of the league in 2022.

Atlanta Braves' potential plans for Taylor Widener in 2024

In 2021, Widener made 13 starts. In 2022, he worked solely as a relief option. Last year in Korea, he was back to a starting role. We are uncertain how the Braves plan to use Widener but he may end up with an invitation to spring training and could provide rotation depth as a right-handed starter.

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