Former Atlanta Braves lefty reliever Luis Avilán announces retirement

Luis Avilán, a lefty specialist in the Atlanta Braves pen from 2012 through 2015, announced his retirement after a successful 10-year Major League career.
Former Atlanta Braves reliever Luis Avilán announces his retirement.
Former Atlanta Braves reliever Luis Avilán announces his retirement. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves signed Luis Avilán as an amateur international free agent on August 22, 2005, just a month after his 16th birthday. After playing for two years in the Dominican Summer League, he moved to the Rookie League, playing for the Gulf Coast Braves in 2008, where he acted as both a starter and reliever.

Avilán made a handful of starts with Danville in 2009 and spot starts with Rome and Myrtle Beach in 2010, but opened 2011 in the pen for Mississippi in 2011. He moved to a starting role on July 16 and made 10 starts, throwing 62+ innings with a 3.88 ERA before the season ended.

Atlanta Braves Call for Avilán

Avilán started 2012 back with the M-Braves and made 12 starts over 16 appearances, but his career as a starter ended after the All-Star Break when the Atlanta Braves called him up.

He made his debut against the Mets in the top of the sixth after Chad Durbin poured gasoline of the Mets rally and handed them the lead. With two on and two out, Avilán struck out Ike Davis on four pitches to end the inning.

Avilán went on to appear in 31 games and pitch to a 2.00 ERA, striking out 33, walking 10, and giving up one home run in 36 innings pitched.

Underappreciated Workhorse

Like Dylan Lee last year, Avilán was his manager's favorite lefty in 2013, and the lefty rewarded him with sterling work. It was the era of the lefty specialist, and in the role, Avilán was superb. 

In 65 innings over 75 games, he pitched to a 1.54 ERA, but that doesn’t tell the story. He allowed runs (12 – 11 earned) in 10 appearances covering five innings. In his other 55 appearances totaling 60 innings, he didn't allow a run while pitching to 0.700 WHIP.

He also appeared in four postseason games against the Dodgers without allowing a run in 2 2/3 IP.