Wright didn’t have it easy in his second spring training start up against a loaded Yankees lineup but responded with his best outing at the major-league level of his short career. The soon to be 23-year old stayed in the zone for all three of his innings pitched, walking none and allowing just two singles. He also recorded three strikeouts, leaving two Yankees batter flailing at air and Aaron Judge looking back with a smile on his face.
The Braves No. 2 overall prospect according to MLB.com had his fastball painting the corner at 96 mph with a curveball he was not afraid to throw in any count. Here’s a look at the final pitch of all three of his strikeouts.
In his postgame press conference, Wright referenced “attacking the zone” several times as the key to his success.
“I feel like the better the hitters are, almost, the more you have to attack,” Wright said. “Getting ahead of those guys is key. Whenever they get their counts, they usually don’t miss their pitches.”
Wright’s been able to do that in his five innings thus far in the Grapefruit League, recording no walks or runs while striking out five. It appeared more than likely he would spend the start of the season in AAA, but with the way he has looked in spring training and the bevy of minor injuries the Braves’ pitching staff has suffered; Wright beginning the year on the major league roster is looking more and more like a possibility.
Another Vanderbilt product, Dansby Swanson, made his spring training debut on Tuesday. The Braves shortstop played three innings in the field and came up to the plate twice. In both plate appearances, he hit the ball well. One unluckily hit off the pitcher’s foot and resulted in an out, and the other was single. Swanson also scored the only run of the afternoon
His response when being asked how it felt to be back on the field again, “So thankful.”
As far as his injury, Swanson said, “Just nice to be able to not have any conscious thoughts about being in pain, or hurting, or feeling like you’re limited in what you’re able to do. So it was definitely a promising sign to start that way and excited to be able to move forward.”
The positive start was nice to see, but hearing Swanson’s out there pain-free, especially after being scratched from last Friday’s start because of wrist discomfort during batting practice, has to be music to the Braves’ fans ears.
Braves lose 5-1
Outside of the fantastic start by Kyle Wright and Dansby’s injury-free return, there were not many positive things to talk about in this one. Johan Camargo drove in the only Braves run when he knocked in Swanson on an RBI-single.
The losing pitcher was Chad Sobotka, who allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning. Sobotka came out of nowhere to add some juice to the Braves late-inning relief in 2018, but now has two shaky appearances in spring training. The Braves are hoping he can continue to progress into a valuable bullpen piece, but his minor league track record makes him a Wild Card entering 2019.