The Braves bullpen has taken it on the chin in recent days. They were responsible for blowing two games against the Cardinals and nearly blew another one last night after Kenley Jansen took the mound in the ninth with a 3-0 lead. It’s fair to question the utilization of certain pitchers going forward. Jansen, in particular, doesn’t look like the same lights-out closer he was with Los Angeles. However, don’t let this recent rough patch fool you; this group is still among the best in baseball.
I’ll get to the stats in a second, but let’s just start with the sheer talent. The Braves bullpen has three guys who would close for 80% of teams in Kenley Jansen, Raisel Iglesias, and A.J. Minter. After that, they feature Collin McHugh, who is among the best middle relief men in baseball, and Tyler Matzek, who was the best reliever in the entire postseason just last year.
Atlanta’s worst reliever in the ‘pen right now was the best bullpen arm in baseball three years ago, as he aims to regain his form coming off Tommy John surgery. This bullpen is so loaded that they were willing to part ways with Jesse Chavez in a trade, who posted a 2.11 ERA over 38.1 innings with the team before the trade deadline.
Oh, and by the way, Jesse Chavez is now back with the team, giving the Braves yet another weapon in relief.
The talent with this group is light years ahead of last year’s bullpen, which might have been the MVP of the entire postseason. Don’t believe me? Now, let’s check out the stats.
Braves Bullpen Ranks
- fWAR — 3rd
- K/9 — 2nd
- FIP — 3rd
- ERA — 6th
Atlanta’s bullpen has been elite all season, and these numbers would have looked even better a week ago. As far as the postseason goes, the only concern should be regarding who is closing games. Is it Kenley Jansen or someone else? Luckily, the Braves have a couple of other fantastic options — something not many other teams have. Brian Snitker has been very cautious with this group, ensuring that they will be well rested by the time October comes around. The Braves bullpen has been a strength of this team all season, and it will only become more evident come the playoffs.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire