Depth pieces hopeful to make an impact
Mop-up duty: Daysbel Hernandez - Daysbel dominated the Braves upper-levels of the minor leagues last year thanks to his devastating arsenal. The gaudy strikeout rate allowed Hernandez to make it all the way to Atlanta before the season ended. His plus fastball and breaking ball combination was enough to earn him a NLDS roster spot. For 2024, Hernandez just needs to string together a longer stretch of his dominate outings to stay up with the big league club.
- Fangraphs Zips projections: 33 IP, 4.64 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 26.4 K%, -0.1 fWAR
Long relief: Jackson Stephens - In most bullpens, Jackson Stephens would find himself in higher leverage situations. However, for Atlanta Stephens has found himself in the long relief role each of the last two years. Much of last season was spent with Gwinnett, and I wouldn't be shocked to see it break that way again should the Braves prefer one of the AAAA starting pitcher types in this role.
- Fangraphs Zips projections: 50.2 IP, 4.44 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 20.3 K%, 0.2 fWAR
Depth left-handed pitcher: Angel Perdomo - 2023 was Perdomo's best showing in his career thus far. In just 29 innings of work, he posted a 3.72 ERA and 3.01 FIP for the Pirates last season. He's not a name on a lot of people's radar, but should those previously mentioned lefties struggle, Perdomo could carve out a role for himself in Atlanta's bullpen.
- Fangraphs Zips projections: 43.2 IP, 4.12 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 32.5 K%, 0.2 fWAR
Off the radar guy: Hayden Harris - A name almost no one is mentioning is soon to be 25 year-old lefty Hayden Harris. Last year, Harris worked across three levels of the minor leagues, posting K/9 north of 12 at each level. The majority of his season was spent with Double-A Mississippi, where he posted a 2.83 ERA and 2.64 FIP. If he continues that success in the upper levels to begin 2024, don't be surprised if he works his way up to Atlanta this summer.
- Fangraphs Zips projections: 53.2 IP, 4.19 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 25.3 K%, 0.2 fWAR
Not included in these listed depth pieces are all the guys who will be in Spring Training via non-roster invites. The former shut down closer Ken Giles, and minor league guys like Brooks Wilson fall into this group. Along with the NRI guys, you can expect to see a lot of guys who start games for Triple-A Gwinnett, also make relief appearances for the big league club. These include your Dylan Dodd, AJ Smith-Shawver, Allan Winans, Darious Vines, and Huascar Ynoa's of the world.
Regardless of what pecking order the bullpen shakes out, this group of pitchers is more than enough to produce an elite season in 2024. We know what role the "Night Shift" played in the 2021 World Series run, maybe this is the group to get some late night work completed in October once again.