Second wave of bullpen arms proving to be better than the first

cfm190428757 braves padres

Due to the immense struggles out of the gate, there has been quite a bit of turnover in the Braves’ bullpen.

Arodys Vizcaino’s season lasted all but four appearances before being shut down for the year. Jonny Venters, Shane Carle, and Jesse Biddle were walking every other batter, and were not the effective relievers they were the year before. Chad Sobotka and Wes Parsons failed to maintain the elite stuff they flashed in small sample sizes.

This has opened the door for more arms to come up and prove themselves, and the second wave of relievers is outperforming them.

Dan Winkler was a surprise snub from the Opening Day roster, but it did not take him long in AAA to show the Braves they had made a critical error in judgment. The former Rule 5 selection has allowed just a .160 average and two earned runs in nine appearances now for the Braves.

Prior to the season, I deemed Jacob Webb as a dark horse candidate to be a contributor out of the bullpen in 2019. He has been more than just a “contributor” since he got the call-up. Webb is yet to give up a run and has allowed three hits in his first eight major league appearances, even earning enough trust from Brian Snitker to get his first save opportunity; which he was lights out in.

Jerry Blevins and Grant Dayton are a couple of intriguing southpaws that have been added to the pen. Braves fans were likely familiar with Blevins from his days with the Mets. He had a down year in 2018 and only faced a handful of batters as a Brave, but he has executed in single out situations. Dayton has some serious upside, one of Anthopoulos’ leftovers he brought over from LA. Dayton was recovering from Tommy John Surgery at the time, but before that, he had shown elite swing and miss stuff with the Dodgers. In 2016, his rookie season, he tossed for a 2.05 ERA in 25 appearances. Like Blevins, the sample size is tiny, but both of these pitchers have better track records than what the Braves were working with initially, and the results are showing.

The other guy that has been great out of the pen is Touki Toussaint, who was mysteriously sent down to Gwinnett today after yet another incredible long relief outing. It is yet to be seen what his role will end up being with the plethora of options the Braves have for their rotation, but when the time calls, Touki seems ready to contribute out of the pen at need be. We all know he could use some help.

The bullpen has slowly but surely improved. An optimist will hope that Chad Sobotka and Jonny Venters can have similar results to Sam Freeman last season after some time off right after struggling. People are saying there is a possibility that Darren O’Day could be back sometime in May. For now, they will continue to try to find the right formula up until the August 1 trade deadline.

Ozzie’s Chain T-Shirt

(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: