Recently, Anthony Castrovince ranked the best bullpens in the majors going into the 2022 season. The Braves, unsurprisingly, took the pole position:
These are (maybe) the best bullpens in @MLB. https://t.co/NeE7rX2x2c
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) March 30, 2022
The Braves not only return a bullpen that was a true weapon during their World Series run, but they added more key pieces. I was very keen on the team bringing on Collin McHugh before the lockout, and Atlanta thankfully signed him before the Matt Olson trade. His nasty slider gives hitters fits. Of course, the Braves gave Kenley Jansen a solid one-year, $16 million deal to be the team’s new closer. Will Smith was willing to take a backseat, noting that he just wants to win another ring. Atlanta could also be getting 2019’s best closer back around the All Star Break in Kirby Yates. Here’s what Castrovince had to say about the Braves:
Closer: RHP Kenley Jansen
Primary setup men: LHP Will Smith, LHP Tyler Matzek, RHP Collin McHugh, LHP A.J. Minter
The bullpen was probably the biggest question surrounding the Braves going into October last year. But thanks to the more spaced-out schedule, it emerged as a real force, with Matzek’s epic performance against the Dodgers sealing the NLCS and Smith going unscored-upon the entire month.
Now, with Jansen, one of the most accomplished closers of this era, and McHugh, who had a fantastic 2021 with the Rays, joining the Braves, the bullpen looks better than ever. That we didn’t even list Luke Jackson, who had a 1.98 ERA in 63 2/3 innings last season, speaks to the depth here. The Braves could also eventually be bolstered by offseason signee Kirby Yates, who is coming off Tommy John. A healthy Darren O’Day could have a role here, as well. So this time, the Braves will have a good bullpen all year.
I’m excited to watch the night shift lock down a few more games, especially in the postseason.
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