Bryse Wilson took the mound in the Braves fifth game of the spring for the first time since we saw him outduel Clayton Kershaw in Game 4 of last year’s NLCS. It was undoubtedly the best performance of the then 22-year-old’s career, and he looked very similar on Thursday afternoon; albeit, against the lousy Pirates in a meaningless spring training game. Wilson had all of his pitches working over two innings, striking out a couple and allowing just one baserunner. The rest of the Braves pitchers, however, were not nearly as efficient.
Tyler Matzek relieved Wilson in the third and allowed a couple of hits and a run, but he did strike out three. Chad Sobotka was given the ball next and allowed two runs on a homer that followed a walk. Sobotka, who is currently on the 40-man roster, has a huge arm, but he hasn’t been able to find it over the last couple of seasons. A few more performances like today’s, and I would be surprised if he wasn’t DFA’d before Opening Day.
Talented prospect Jasseel De La Cruz also surrendered a couple of runs in the fifth, and the Pirates added one more off of 22-year-old William Woods in the sixth. However, despite giving up a home run, David O’Brien of The Athletic came away impressed with Woods, who was pumping gas in the high-90s with a hard slider.
William Woods in there pumping 86-87 mph sliders and 98.5-mph fastballs. Whew. 22-year-old prospect from Tennessee. Hasn't pitched above low-A, but looks impressive. Snit was eager to see him today.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 4, 2021
In 2019, Woods had a respectable 3.35 ERA for the Rome Braves, striking out 58 batters in just 51 innings. He’s definitely a pitching prospect to watch at the lower levels this upcoming season.
Just like yesterday, the bats were quiet for the Braves, scoring only one run, which came in the first inning. However, some notables performed well at the plate. Austin Riley continued his hot spring with a single in the first; Dansby Swanson also had a double, and Drew Waters and Jason Kipnis each had hits in their only at-bats.
The Braves continue their spring training schedule tomorrow at 1:05 ET against the Twins.
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