The Braves have gotten a good effort out of their bullpen as a whole in 2022, even with the group not being at full strength. Tyler Matzek is set to return soon, and Atlanta could be adding Kirby Yates before long as well. However, Atlanta’s relief core is on a slight — but not horrendous — skid.
#Braves bullpen ranks over past week:
ERA 4.62 (21st)
FIP 2.89 (5th)
xFIP 2.45 (1st)
K/9 12.79 (2nd)
BABIP .424 (30th)
Last night was less than fun, but it’s more of a bad stretch of luck than it is a drop off in effectiveness
— Shawn Coleman (@StatsSAC) June 27, 2022
This doesn’t come as much of a shock; the Braves have played some good teams but have gotten extremely unlucky. I’m not too worried about them, but as guys like Matzek and Yates near a return, who is going to be moved to create space?
The first and most obvious choice is probably Darren O’Day. O’Day was fantastic for the Braves in 2019 and 2020, but he has seen a large dip in production after leaving in free agency in 2021 and signing a minor league pact with the Braves this past offseason. At 39 years old, O’Day is clearly slowing down, and it may be time for the Braves to cut ties.
Next is Jackson Stephens. Stephens has been pretty good since being found playing in the Mexican League, but he has had a few rough outings recently. Over his last seven appearances, Stephens has a 7.88 ERA and 1.63 WHIP. If he doesn’t figure things out quickly, the Braves won’t hesitate to replace him when the time comes.