Braves: What does the Charlie Morton signing mean for Kyle Wright & Bryse Wilson?

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In case you’ve been sleeping in, Atlanta inked Charlie Morton to the largest AAV free agency deal so far this offseason. The Drew Smyly signing already filled a hole left by Mike Soroka‘s injury and Tommy Milone/Robby Erlin’s incompetence. Now, the Braves rotation outlook is even brighter. Ken Rosenthal outlined a potential Atlanta rotation once Soroka’s Achilles heals up:

 

 

Notice a few omissions?

First, Kyle Wright. Wright finally came out of his shell towards the end of 2020 after another bumpy start. His last three outings gave Atlanta hope for a sneaky-good playoff rotation:

 

Last 3 Starts of 2020 (WSN,NYM,BOS): 19 IP, 11 H, 6 BB, 5 ER, 14 K

 

Wright was finally finishing batters and cutting his walks, something that had troubled him over his whole career. Besides one ugly start in the NLCS, he was almost perfect in his first postseason performance. Wright tossed six scoreless innings in the NLDS vs. Miami, only allowing three hits and two walks while striking out seven men. His future is bright.

Fans were noticeably nervous when Bryse Wilson was given the ball in Game 4 of the NLCS, but he put together the best performance of his major league career, silencing the doubters. While Wilson only threw 15.2 innings in the 2020 regular season, he never gave up more than two earned runs in an appearance. His best start of the regular-season came against the Marlins — he went five shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk. Wilson then stepped up to the mighty LA Dodgers in the playoffs and tossed six innings while only giving up one hit, one walk, and one run — a solo shot. His five strikeouts were also very impressive. 

Considering Mike Soroka is barely throwing, there’s no reason to rush him back. Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly will probably take the reigns in the rotation, barring a catastrophic meltdown from either. However, that’s not what this is about. These signings are about ensuring depth. Atlanta thought they had depth with Felix Hernandez and Cole Hamels last season, but when Mike Soroka went down — starts went to guys like Robbie Erlin, Tommy Milone, AJ Minter, and Josh Tomlin. Signing these two ensures Atlanta has far better depth than last season, something that doomed them in the playoffs. Wright and Wilson look like they are close, but there are no guarantees, and while I hope Atlanta is healthy, it’s nice to have a backup plan if needed this time around. Since Soroka likely won’t be ready to start 2021, Wright and Wilson will both get a chance to prove they belong in the rotation going forward after these one-year deals for Smyly and Morton expire.

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