Kyle Wright made his highly anticipated return to the Braves on Monday night, and it left a lot to be desired. He gave up six earned runs across three innings, and it was overwhelmingly evident that he’s still shaking off the rust. It was essentially a rehab start at the major-league level, but if the Braves want to include him on the postseason roster, they have to see if he can get out major-league bats, and there’s not much time left for that to happen.
Overall, I wasn’t too discouraged with what I saw last night. It was another step in the right direction, and it would have been foolish to expect Wright to shut down one of the best lineups in baseball after not pitching in the majors for several months. He now knows what it feels like to be back out there; hopefully, he can continue to improve over the last few weeks, enough for the Braves to feel confident in including him on the NLDS roster.
But how might he be utilized?
I find it difficult to believe, at least initially, that the Braves are seriously considering Kyle Wright as an option to start a game in the NLDS. As I’ve stated on multiple occasions, because of the amount of off-days, the Braves only need three starters in a potential five-game series. I would imagine four of those starts would go to Max Fried and Spencer Strider, with the other one likely going to Charlie Morton, or possibly Bryce Elder.
Even in a seven-game series, Wright would have to show a lot to earn a start come October. The other guys have just been too good. Max Fried might be the best pitcher in baseball. Spencer Strider, while inconsistent at times, is still way too talented to even think about replacing. Charlie Morton has been spectacular of late, and Bryce Elder has been equally as impressive. The Braves have their four horses, but Wright could find himself in a very important role out of the bullpen.
The top 4-5 guys in the Braves bullpen have been ultra-reliable. Michael Tonkin has also done a fantastic job at eating innings in long relief this season. But after that, there are some questions.
Collin McHugh was placed on the IL last week. It’s very possible we’ve seen the last of him this season. Dylan Lee was also just optioned back to Gwinnett after a couple of rough outings. The Braves need more long relievers, especially with Jesse Chavez‘s status still up in the air, and Kyle Wright makes a lot of sense as a hybrid option that could be very valuable come the postseason.
It’s not what we all hoped for a guy coming off a 21-win season and a masterful performance in the 2022 NLDS, but injuries are part of the game. The Braves have to play the hand they are dealt, and it could be a lot worse. There’s a place for Kyle Wright on the Braves postseason roster if he can perform a little better over his next few starts than he did last night.
Photo: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire