GIF Breakdown: Bryse Wilson’s MLB Debut
The Atlanta Braves love their 20 year olds. Two 20-year-olds, Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard, made their pitching debuts with the Braves earlier this season. They of course joined phenom Ronald Acuna, also 20, as the Braves have ushered in an impressive collection of young talent this season.
That ushering continued on Monday, when the Braves surprisingly recalled 20-year-old Bryse Wilson from Triple-A Gwinett to make his big league debut. Wilson more than held his own, tossing five scoreless innings while surrendering three hits, three walks and striking out five.
Wilson looked excellent early on but labored somewhat in the later innings, throwing just 41 pitches through the first three innings but 46 in his final two frames before getting pulled after 87 pitches. However, he managed to limit the damage, thanks in part to three double plays turned by Atlanta’s defense.
Here’s a breakdown of Wilson’s impressive debut, complete, of course, with plenty of GIFs. Wilson’s future in the rotation is cloudy, but if he is able to stick around he is worth a look in all formats.
Bryse Wilson’s Fastball (15/63 CSW)
We’ll start with Wilson’s fastball, which doesn’t possess a ton of movement but has enough velocity to succeed in the show. Here was his first big league strikeout, an elevated heater to get Corey Dickerson on the first at-bat of the game.
Elevating heaters looks to be a big part of Wilson’s arsenal, as he left plenty of fastballs up over the strike zone on Monday.
Wilson averaged 94.9 miles per hour on his fastball in Monday’s start, right in line with his minor league numbers. Fangraphs gave him a 55/60 grade on his fastball, and it was easy to see why. His command still needs work, but 20-year-olds who already possess the ability to get swings and misses up and out of the zone are always going to be in high demand.
Here’s a more expertly placed heater, which earned him a strike on Colin Moran.
Again, it’s no Noah Syndergaard or Lance McCullers when it comes to movement, but if he can locate this pitch well he should find plenty of success with it. His 24/2 K/BB ratio from Triple-A is a good sign, although small sample size is certainly a factor.
Bryse Wilson’s Changeup (3/11 CSW)
Wilson used his changeup exclusively against left-handed hitters, consistently trying to bury it low and away. He succeeded early on, getting a nice strikeout of Adam Frazier here.
This was a hell of an at-bat. After going up 0-2, Wilson wasted two pitches up in the zone to even things out. He stayed in it and got his second straight strikeout to open up his career on this nice changeup.
Here’s another example of Wilson’s changeup usage, this time to first baseman Josh Bell:
More than anything, this is a bad swing by Bell. Still, it’s nice to see what Wilson has the confidence to bury a changeup away on a 2-1 count, although I’m sure he intended to catch a little more of the corner on this one. No matter, as it got the job done.
Wilson’s changeup doesn’t possess the arm-side run that a lot of high-velocity pitchers have with their changeups, but it has enough depth and fade to be effective. However, he will need to learn how to throw this pitch to right-handed hitters if he wants to be more than a two-pitch pitcher.
Bryse Wilson’s Slider (4/13 CSW)
Wilson’s slider was used as hit out pitch against right-handers. He didn’t have great feel of the pitch, leaving quite a few hanging and giving up his only extra-base hit on a hanger that light-hitting Adeiny Hechavarria whacked for a double.
While his slider was a bit of a disappointment, it did have it’s moments – like this wicked frisbee that got a strikeout of fellow rookie Kevin Newman.
Or this similar one to Francisco Cervelli.
While Wilson never offered his changeup to right-handers, he did flash his slider to lefties three times, finding success each time. Here he buried a slider down and in to Dickerson, getting a huge double play to end the fifth inning – and his first big league outing.
Wilson is still raw, but his ability to get outs when he needed served him well in this one. He needs to be able to flash all three of his pitches against both right and left handed hitters, otherwise he will have a really hard time getting through the order more than twice. His command wasn’t awful, but a few sliders up in the zone went unpunished, a fate that surely won’t be avoided when he faces other big league opponents.
I’m hesitant to call Wilson a must-add, even if he earns a rotation spot going forward. He is certainly an intriguing streaming option, with enough strikeout potential to make him worth rostering in deeper leagues.