The bullpen got off to a hot start this season, but has come back to earth in the past week. The Braves starters are not pitching far enough into games, and the bullpen arms have been overused. Due to this, the Braves called up RHPs Michael Kohn and John Cornely and have sent Brandon Cunniff and Sugar Ray Marimon to AAA Gwinnett. Cunniff has been one of Atlanta’s most effective relievers this season, pitching to a 2.00 ERA. However, he has already made 10 appearances this season, and appeared in every game during the Mets series. With the way Cunniff has pitched, this move tells me they simply need some fresh arms for the Philly series. Marimon has seen a lot of innings as well, and he threw for 61 pitches in the Mets series. Unlike Cunniff, Marimon does lack job security. If Kohn or Cornely impress in Atlanta, they could take his spot in the bullpen. Regardless, I think this is likely just a temporary move, and Marimon has value in his long relieving ability. As far as the new acquisitions go, John Cornely has been lights out in 5 appearances for AAA Gwinnett this season. He has pitched to a 1.04 ERA with 12 Ks and only issuing a single walk. He also pitched well in Mississippi last season, and he’s a guy to keep an eye on. Michael Kohn is a guy who has major league experience, spending last season with the Los Angeles Angels. He pitched to a 3.04 ERA in 25 appearances for LA last season. When you hear that statistic, one may wonder why he is just now cracking the bullpen. Here’s why: his 7.6 BB/9 rate. Kohn issues a high rate of walks and is known to have control issues. However, he did issues just two walks in 8.1 innings of work in AAA Gwinnett so far this year. The Charleston, SC native grew up an Atlanta Braves fan, and I’m excited to see what these guys have to offer a bullpen that is still searching for options.
In other bullpen news, Juan Jaime has cleared waivers after being DFA’d by Atlanta last week. Teams were reluctant to take a chance of Jaime due to the fact that he is out of options and has had awful control issues. Jaime will be optioned to AAA Gwinnett. The kid has electrifying stuff, but like Kohn, has serious control issues. It looks like the bullpen will be a rotating door until Fredi Gonzalez finds seven guys he is comfortable with.