During Spring Training, Kyle Wright was proving himself as a viable candidate for the rotation. After getting a cup of tea in majors last year, it was looking more and more like Wright’s time. He was showing why he was one of the highest regarded prospects in the game heading into the season. Though in part due to injuries, Wright was named a starter on the Opening Day roster, which did not last long. He was lit up in three starts, and things have not taken a turn for the better in AAA.
Now in Wright’s defense, I think he has been mishandled by the Braves this season. Though they have gotten great results from Sean Newcomb and Touki Toussaint out of the bullpen, the last two times Wright has been called up, he has traveled with the team for multiple days without even getting the opportunity to pitch. That said, his performance isn’t purely a result of how the Braves are choosing to use him. He’s been egregious, and it’s time to wonder if he will ever be the frontline guy the organization thought he would be.
Wright has a 7.41 ERA in eight starts for the Stripers. His strikeout numbers are down, and he has been prone to giving up the long ball. In 11 total starts across the big leagues and AAA, he has given up ten home runs.
Between the small sample size, the up and down nature of his season and the track record of Vanderbilt pitchers in the big leagues, it is way too early to give up on Wright. But his stock is falling, inside and outside the organization. In Baseball America’s prospect list, he dropped 25 spots. The Braves’ recent signing of Dallas Keuchel proves the organization does not think any of the young starters are quite ready to take a step forward, and that certainly includes Wright. Thankfully, they have been spoiled by arms such as Max Fried and Mike Soroka.
Wright’s nightmarish 2019 season is a reason to worry, but he was drafted just two years ago. There is plenty of time to figure things out. Wright needs to be kept down in AAA until he works out the kinks, or whatever is going on. The Braves have other options to bring up to the bullpen, such as Grant Dayton. They need to prioritize the development of their high draft pick; which means no more wasteful call-ups.
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