Braves: Tyler Matzek is a name to watch as the rosters trim down

spring training

There’s been a lot of chatter around baseball regarding Daniel Bard, and rightfully so. The now 35-year-old was out of baseball for seven years, was invited to camp by Colorado, eventually made the team, and picked up his first win this weekend in relief — a tremendous story, but he’s not the only player attempting ro resurrect their major-league career.

Tyler Matzek was the 11th overall pick by the Rockies in 2009. His career numbers aren’t horrendous or anything, but the yips forced him out of the majors after 2015 when he posted a 7.8 BB/9 with a 4.09 ERA.

Since, he’s been all over the place, including some independent leagues after playing just two official seasons in the MLB. However, five years since he last pitched in the bigs, Matzek’s getting another chance with the Braves. This might be the final opportunity he has to prove himself, and last night, he took a huge step in the right direction.

The 6’3″, 230-pound southpaw pitched one inning and struck out two while giving up a weak infield hit to Eduardo Nunez. As Will Smith waits to make his Braves debut following a bout with the coronavirus, Matzek provided a glimmer of hope for a bullpen sorely in need of lefty options. A.J. Minter also had a good outing, and the two will likely battle it out for that role as the rosters continue to trim down over the coming weeks.

Looking at Matzek’s career numbers, nothing sticks out as alarming besides his issues with walks. He played in Denver, where the ball is notorious for traveling, and he only gave up three runs in two starts on the road in 2015. I’m not saying he’s going to come in and be Andrew Miller, but Matzek could be a diamond in the rough and provide valuable innings for a team desperate for lefty relievers.

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