Kyle Wright, RHP, ATL

With over 40 innings pitched at the major league level, Kyle Wright is about to lose his rookie eligibility. Before that happens, let’s see how he got here.

Video courtesy of Atlanta Braves
  • Born: October 2, 1995
  • B/T: Right/Right
  • 6’4″, 215-lbs
  • Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

You hate to see a WHIP regress like that, although to be honest, isn’t that exactly what we would expect to see of a pitcher as he faces better and better batters? Yet the best prospects get better as they climb, and that WHIP stays about the same or improves.

It’s the walks that dun it, officer. When you offer free passes, WHIPS follow. And since Wright doesn’t strike out oodles of batters, it’s not enough to wave away those walks.

He gave up a lot more walks to lefties.

Now the good stuff. He has 5, count ’em 5, pitches to work with. Lower level batters probably never knew what hit them.

His best pitch is his slider, a great, great pitch that just works no matter who he faces. He has elite spin rates on his pitches, but it doesn’t help his four-seam fastball because he struggles to command it (thus the walks). You use your fastball to set up your secondary pitches, and no matter how good your secondaries are, if you can’t set them up with your fastball, you cannot dominate.

Heh, think he knows that his slider is his best pitch, and his FB is not working as it should? He’s going with his bread-and-butter pitch now more than any other. But in the long run, he needs those other pitches to become plus, or at worst to be average and consistent.

His career average K-BB% line is not great, so don’t get too excited by that 2018 at or above the line, or his 2019 with progress all year long — it was progress from a deep, deep hole to begin with.

In 2020, as I write this, Wright has made four starts for the Braves, facing 75 batters total. He has struck out 12 of them (decent), walked 16 of them (putrid), and given up 17 hits (bye-bye WHIP).

The Scouts

Warnings

It’s all about better command. If he can make his pitches to the correct zones, he can set up his beautiful slider, and he can cut down on his walks, and he can become a #3 starter in the majors. Until then, it’s 2.200 WHIP land.

Conclusion

The spin rate makes the scouts drool. He’s got talent, no doubt about it. The casual fan see a 7.20 ERA and thinks he’s a bum. He’s no bum, just a young kid trying to develop his stuff. If it all comes together, he’ll be a great one.

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