Braves: Could any of these AAA arms make an impact at the major-league level this season?

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With four series left in the season, the Braves have an opening in their rotation. It’s evident that Touki Toussaint and Drew Smyly are not the answer. I would be surprised if either made another start in 2021, which leaves the Braves with a decision to make. They could opt to have a bullpen game every fifth day; however, with just one more day off between now and the end of the season, that could cause fatigue amongst their relief core. Their other option is to call someone up from the AAA level, which is likely their best course of action. They have a few guys that could be critical in the race for their fourth consecutive NL East title.

Kyle Wright

Many fans have already given up on Kyle Wright, but there’s a reason the Braves continue to hold onto him. He has the repertoire to be a major-league starter one day, and if he ever figures things out mentally, he could be a staple in Atlanta’s rotation for years to come. Because of how much organizational starting pitching depth the Braves have, Wright hasn’t had many opportunities this season, but he’s made the most of his time in Gwinnett, posting a 9-5 record with a 3.34 ERA, and those numbers continue to improve each time out. Last night, Wright tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits on 86 pitches. They call that a Maddux around these parts. I’m not sure the Braves will want to throw Wright back into the fire of a divisional race, but he’s the guy on this list with the most experience.

Kyle Muller

Muller is one of the unsung heroes of the Braves season. Because of injuries, he was asked to make his major league debut a bit earlier than expected; however, he handled it splendidly. Eventually, his services were no longer needed, but with Smyly and Toussaint struggling, he’s the guy I would most expect the Braves to call up. Since his return to Gwinnett, Muller has yet to have an outing in which he’s allowed more than two earned runs.

Bryce Elder

If potentially calling Bryce Elder up to the majors this year seems silly, it’s because — in a lot of ways — it is. The 2020 fifth-round draft pick has yet to even pitch a full season professionally and began 2021 in High-A. However, the Braves have moved him up the system quickly, and he’s looked better with each stop. In nine starts with Rome, Elder posted a 2.60 ERA. With Mississippi, he recorded a 3.21 ERA over nine more starts. But his best work has actually come since he’s moved to Gwinnett. For the Stripers, Elder has a 2.28 ERA over five starts (27.8 innings). It would be pretty remarkable for a player to move up the system this quickly and then make his major-league debut with a playoff berth on the line, but crazier things have happened, and so far, Elder has yet to blink.

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