The Atlanta Braves are riding through the struggles of 2016, painfully. With just 12 wins to show for on the season and already 15 games out of first place in the NL East standings, there’s been meager amounts of hope to look forward to. However, the positive outlook about the Braves’ situation is the revamped farm system. Since the Braves’ rebuild began in early 2014, the franchise has made over 100 transactions, all of which has resulted into the third best minor league pipeline in baseball.
A certain player whose career originated back in Atlanta’s farm system is starting pitcher Matt Wisler. Wisler is in his second-year with the Braves, and saw his major league career initiate coming out of the bullpen in 2015. So far, he’s emerged as one of Atlanta’s key pieces that came during the Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr. trade last year. In his first year starting, Wisler has established a steady hand in the rotation, maintaining a 2.93 ERA through eight starts. However, one aspect that’s taken flight is his uniform command. Through 55.1 innings, Wisler has flexed a 3:1 SO/BB ratio – currently the best on the team and top 15 in baseball in terms of all qualified starters.
As of now, Wisler is shaping up to be the Braves’ top gun in the rotation. But a majority of his numbers doesn’t indicate entirely how well he’s pitched this season. Unfortunately, Wisler is dealing with an offense that couldn’t hit a beach ball right now if they tried – having produced the league’s lowest run total (140) and home runs (19).
Going deep into his starts is something that Wisler has done a remarkable job of all season, as four times has he pitched into seventh and eighth inning of a game. In fact, he and Julio Teheran have been the only starters who’ve produced quality starts on a regular basis.
Wisler is oozing with confidence and by installing a change-up to his repertoire – something that he learned from Braves’ legend Tom Glavine in April – is just another wrinkle to his game that’s yet to be seen. At just 23 years old, his willingness to learn and evolve as a pitcher shows commitment and determination to become a perennial All-Star and prove why the Padres were wrong to part ways with him while in Double-A.