Most Braves fans, myself included, had written off Bryse Wilson before the 2020 season began. And if you still had faith that he could turn things around quickly, his first couple of outings of this shortened season surely didn’t help your case.
Wilson provided little reason to believe coming into 2020. After his fairly impressive debut against the Pirates back in 2018, which saw him toss 5 innings of shutout ball, 2019 was very forgettable for him. He pitched a meager 20 innings last season — ceding 16 ER, 5 HR, and 10 BBs over 4 starts and 2 relief appearances — and the beginning of 2020 was more of the same.
In an August matchup against the Yankees, Wilson pitched 1.2 innings and gave up 2 runs on a HR and an eye-popping 4 walks. He was demoted shortly after. However, injuries forced the Braves to call upon Wilson again against Washington on September 6th, but the results were more of the same. He pitched 1 inning, and the Nats collected 4 hits, 2 walks, and a run off of him. If it wasn’t for Atlanta’s rotation instability, his time with the Braves would have been done until at least 2021 and possibly even longer than that, given how many other prospects are waiting for their opportunity.
Then something happened.
On the magical night of September 9th, when Atlanta shelled Miami for 29 runs, Wilson came in for 4 innings to relieve none other than Tommy Milone. Wilson tossed 82 pitches, and with a massive cushion, he pitched a great game, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits — with the only damage coming from a solo shot. He did walk 2 batters, but it was a sign of improvement, and he has continued trending upwards ever since.
Wilson made 3 more appearances after that, throwing a combined 9 innings and only giving up 2 ER. He did surrender 9 hits, but I’ll take it — he only issued 3 walks. His best performance came against those same Marlins on September 22nd while the Braves were scrambling for postseason rotation answers. In a crucial game to help decide the NL East, Wilson went 5 strong innings — only giving up 3 hits, 2 walks, and no runs. That was his next to last start of the season, and even though his final outing against Boston didn’t go as planned, he’s still the best foot forward if Atlanta needs a starter in a pinch.
Ian Anderson is set to take the mound in Game 2, and Kyle Wright is penciled in as the Game 3 starter. The Braves Game 4 starter has yet to be announced. Perhaps they won’t even need one, or maybe Brian Snitker will turn to his bullpen for the full nine innings. However, if the Braves are up in the series, Wilson has earned his opportunity to start on the big stage.
That’s almost funny to say, considering he’s only thrown 15.2 innings this season, but given the Braves rotations woes, it’s the truth. Wilson’s best two outings came against the Marlins, and he should be trusted to start Game 4 against Miami, even if he only goes 2-3 innings before turning it over to the bullpen.
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