Braves 2020 Player Review: Bryse Wilson (And NEW BRAVES JOURNAL CONTEST!)

You really shouldn’t base your entire thought process related to a player on a single game.

That would be very unwise to decide how you’re going to evaluate a player in any sport, but especially in baseball, which is based on much larger sample sizes. No matter how important or impressive that game was, it shouldn’t be the crux of your support of a player.

Yet, that’s exactly what I’m going to do with Bryse Wilson.

If you’re reading this, you know exactly what game I’m going to focus on, too. Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers was that big of a deal for the 22-year-old right-hander from North Carolina.

With the Atlanta Braves coming off their first loss of the 2020 postseason, a 15-3 thrashing no less, the team was in a less-than-ideal spot. Needing a win from a fourth starter they didn’t really seem to have, the Braves were facing future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw with all momentum threatening to slip away.

Enter Bryse Freaking Wilson.

All Wilson did was throw six innings of one-hit, one-run magic with just one walk against five strikeouts. He surrendered a solo home run to designated hitter Edwin Rios in the third inning but then sat down 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. Seemingly every pitch in his arsenal was working, ranging from a curve ball in the high 70s to a fastball that touched 96 miles per hour and stayed as high as 95 in his final inning.

With that, Wilson set up a 10-2 Braves win in his playoff debut that put the good guys one win away from their first World Series in 25 years. What happened after that? Well, we’re not going to talk about that right now.

What we will talk about is how uplifting it was to see another starting option emerge, even if only for one night. Who knows what 2021 will hold for Wilson, but it’s hard to imagine a more positive way for a young pitcher to head into the offseason. He got to see firsthand that, against perhaps the best offense in baseball, his stuff works.

The outing also should’ve earned him a nickname, and it’s a shame that “Bulldog” is already taken. Maybe just “The Bull”?

Back to the business at hand, though. That confidence could be incredibly valuable for a rotation that will likely need another arm or two in 2021.

Also encouraging is that 2020 was the best season of Wilson’s young career. While his 4.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings that included two starts isn’t Cy Young material, it showed growth from his work in 2018 and 2019. And Wilson’s best outings came at the end of the regular season, when he posted a 2.08 ERA in his final four appearances. That included a scoreless five-inning start against the Marlins on Sept. 22, which he allowed three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts, a career high.

Perhaps most encouraging, though, is that Wilson is still just 22 years old. He has, at times, felt like a player who has been around long enough to have established himself by now, but that isn’t reality. Wilson is just a few months older than Ian Anderson, who possibly wouldn’t have even seen the majors this season for any meaningful work if not for the well-documented issues that the Braves rotation faced this year. In fact, Wilson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, three rounds after Anderson.

So for now, let’s just choose to take his 2020 as a sign of big things ahead for Bryse “The Bull” Wilson.


We’ve just put in an order for a new Braves Journal tee and I’m really excited about it! The shirts should be in sometime later this week, so I wanted to give everyone a chance to win a free shirt! Here are the Rules of our Contest:

  • On this thread only (not on Twitter or any other social media outlet), predict the Braves first Free Agent signing of the winter.
  • Player has to given a guaranteed MLB contract (sorry Abraham Almonte, you don’t qualify).
  • Once a name is used, it cannot be used again, so keep up with the list.

46 thoughts on “Braves 2020 Player Review: Bryse Wilson (And NEW BRAVES JOURNAL CONTEST!)”

  1. JC’d from last thread:

    I just don’t think teams have an incentive right now to make financial decisions about these guys, so I do think you’ll see a record amount of non-tenders. Most of these players will be there in January and February when we know more about 2021 attendance. Fans won’t like it, and the people with their yearly suspicions of collusion will be vocal, but until they get a firm commitment on fan attendance, then I think this is a boooooooooring hot stove.

  2. Great review, Jeremy. Bryse definitely shoved in Game 4.

    Not sure what to make of Wilson going forward, and I’m not sure what kind of role Snitker will be willing to give him. Definitely not sure he would deserve the 5th starter spot, but he should be 6th or 7th in the “depth chart” of the starting rotation. Couple injuries and he’s there.

  3. @ 2
    Yeah, I don’t think he’s a lock for the rotation, but if you operate on the assumption that Soroka won’t be ready for Opening Day, he’s got as good a shot as anyone. And regardless of what AA says publicly, Soroka being ready for Opening Day should be far from the expectation.
    Without Maple Maddux, the rotation looks like this before any additions are made:
    Even if you assume they make an addition through free agency or trade, that leaves two spots. With the way they both performed in 2020, Wilson would get at least the same consideration as Wright from me, and honestly, Wilson was better. Either way, if I’m making that decision, my rotation out the gate is Fried, Anderson, FA and then two young guys competing for the spot that’s still remaining when Soroka is ready.

  4. Thank you, Jeremy. Well structured analysis. The Bull’s not from Durham, is he?

    Just for my edification, Rob, which five/six pitchers do the Hammers have that rank ahead of Wilson on the depth chart?

    We haven’t signed Bauer yet?!? C’mon, AA!

    Jeremy’s quick.

  5. @ No. 4

    HE IS FROM DURHAM!!! I didn’t even make that connection. Yep, he’s “The Bull” henceforth. It hath been declared.

  6. Nice summary.

    I don’t see Wilson’s late/post-season success as an aberration because he’s shown what he can do in the minors repeatedly. The aberration has been the 25 major league innings between his major league debut and his last two starts of the 2020 regular season. He’s just a winner.

  7. Thanks for coming over, Andy. Do you see his lack of offspeed a problem? Also, thoughts on the curve we saw in the postseason? Legit? Wind-aided?

  8. I’ve seen enough of his change-up in the minors to believe it will become a legitimate and consistent major league offering. I believe the Braves inadvertently retarded its development by pushing him to go to the cutter last season. It was the cutter that was getting hammered this spring, and he’s barely used it in the regular season.

    If I was placing bets on a Wilson breaking ball before this season, it would have been the slider, but the development of the curveball has been a welcome surprise.

  9. And I really liked his curve in that it had a unique break to it. More of a slider break with a higher curve velocity. The arsenal he displayed in the NLCS was eye-opening for me.

  10. Check out the edited piece above for an insert about a contest for a new Braves Journal tee! Get your selection in!

  11. Old people quarantine well. Before covid, we just hid out from the world. Post covid, well, the world comes to us. Ignorance is bliss, but how could I not have heard of Gramarye Media?

    Wow! What an impressive ensemble!

    Is it April 1? AAR got me again.

  12. I think Bryce has a spot in this rotation in the future, but as others have suggested in the past, his immediate role may well be the bullpen. I look at both him and Wright at about even odds of which one could win that 5th starter role at this date (assuming Soroka comes back in a reasonable amount of time and we sign/trade for another starter.)

    And I’ll play…I say Nick Markakis is the 1st FA signing. Don’t like the idea, but it fits a pattern.

  13. @3-4

    It’s not my understanding that Soroka will miss much time, if any at all. So I look at it as Soroka will still make 25-26+ starts next year, so it’s not like there’s a “spot” available due to his absence. So obviously the givens would be Soroka, Fried, Anderson. And like I’ve said, they have to spend available money somewhere, so I absolutely expect them to get a starting pitcher on the free agent market. I don’t think this is the year they stop adding at least one person. It would be malpractice for AA to continue to throw unproven options at the rotation with how much room we have in the budget to spend at least a little bit of money on the rotation. Are you going to go into the season paying your entire rotation less than $5-6M depending on arb?

    Finally, I don’t think, sadly, they will admit their mistake with Kyle Wright, so they’ll keep throwing him out there. I think Wilson slides in at 6, so he might take any vacated Soroka starts at the beginning of the season, but I don’t think Atlanta trusts him enough to pencil him in for 30 starts from jump.

  14. @JohnAdcox

    Too funny! However, Almonte was signed to a non-guaranteed MLB deal, so he doesn’t qualify!

  15. @ 15,

    As mentioned earlier, I DON’T think SP is problem 1. I want one more bat (for DH, if one, Joc Pederson type, Brantley type, Chapman type, something).

    Also, I don’t presume “there is plenty of money.” I think there SHOULD be if Liberty is managing for long term capital gain on sale of asset. However, if Liberty is managing for cash flow, they could drop payroll precipitously.

    Right now, if you drop anybody you are questionable on, you are around 90 million. That assumes adding no one from outside. My ball park guess is payroll is 120 to 130.

  16. @20 – My reading suggests that the DH will be used as part of the collective bargaining agreement coming up. Possibly out for the NL in 2021 and in for 2022 and after. That said, I agree – a starter is not the immediate concern, but we’ll sign/trade for one surely. Our rotation of Fried, Anderson, Soroka sometime in the first 2 months and…?? I do think we need another one rather than slot the kids in once more.

    Also for a bat – Pederson, Brantley or Chapman don’t move the needle for me. 1st priority remains Freddie’s extension and then a power bat to hit behind Freddie.

  17. You can color me skeptical on Bryse Wilson. His late-season performance and especially his Game 4 start are cause for optimism, certainly. But we’re talking about three outings over a month with a pretty extensive previous record that was not at all encouraging. You do not let the thought of putting Wilson in no-man’s land deter you from signing another starting pitcher in the offseason…in fact, putting Wilson and Kyle Wright in a position where one of them wins a rotation spot and the other is in no-man’s land (either the Gwinnett rotation or the Atlanta bullpen…or yo-yoing back and forth) would be one of my biggest goals of the offseason.

    Also, I do not at all get the “rotation is not really a concern anymore” talk. It is absolutely a concern…perhaps not as big as it was this past year with Soroka assumedly back, but a deep concern nevertheless. I’m confident that we won’t at all have to worry (outside of injury) of precisely two starting pitchers going into the season. Anderson will wind up being fine, but a sophomore slump is nowhere near out of the question. Soroka and Fried are the only two guys I’m not cocking my head to the side at least a bit when I’m projecting their 2021 seasons. And there is no way we’d be able to get through a 162-game season with a dumpster fire of a rotation the way we did a 60-game one. If that happens again in a full season, we’re probably boned. So yeah…at least a mid-rotation veteran starter is an absolute must. A top-of-the-rotation guy would still be appreciated.

  18. @20

    I guess I am just simply looking at it that everything will work in proportion. That each team was affected fairly consistently, so the reduction in payroll will reduce accordingly. Therefore, the pool of money available to free agents will decrease. There will be outliers, both for individual teams and for individual types of players, but I would think that if we could afford Ozuna, Melancon, Hames, O’Day, and Markakis, could we get at least close to the 2021 equivalent in buying power?

    I see what you’re saying that Liberty Media might uniquely throttle things since their short-term goals might be greater than your average owner, but I guess it’s just not my expectation that we will reduce payroll by such a huge amount that we won’t even get close to replacing who just came off the books.

  19. @22 Also, I do not at all get the “rotation is not really a concern anymore” talk. It is absolutely a concern…

    I will never understand how after all the pain and torment we’ve experienced that people are still penciling in young starters with either no or almost no big league success in for 30 starts. I don’t care how good this guy’s curveball or that guy’s fastball is, their job is to break your heart until otherwise demonstrated. I get it, I was on the Wisler Train for way too long…

  20. If we go by Ryan’s figures in the 1st Where do We Go From Here article, we’ll have a payroll around $160 million and $104 million allocated already. So we have $56 million to spend. If one assumes that Freddie’s extension won’t effect that (cost going forward into 2022) then where is the best place to spend that money? You can get a starter for anything from $5 million to $30 million. The more you spend, the more it may move the needle. Same for a bat.

    In my ideal scenario, we sign Bauer for $30 mil (on a 1 year deal), Realmuto for $22 mil (on a 4/5 year deal) and that leaves $4 mil to fill out the rest (and we stick with Riley and Duvall where they are.) I think that kind of move would be a game changer. But we’re not living in an ideal world right now. I don’t know what Liberty wants to do and I’m not sure anyone knows what they want their payroll to be in 2021. In the words of William Goldman, “Nobody knows anything.”

  21. @24

    Yeah, I don’t get it, either. Three weeks of good starting pitching does not erase the two months that came before it, nor the several years of iffy work from a few of these specific pitchers before that.

  22. @ 23,

    Absolutely no, the reductions will not be “10% for every team” or anything like that.

    Steve Cohen will probably increase Mets payroll (assuming DeBlasio doesn’t mess this up and MLB move the Mets to New Jersey or who knows where).

    Some of the small market clubs will retrench big time. It is already evident in Cleveland. Probably it affects the mid market (Cardinals?).

    The Hammers are in a much different position from most teams. Most teams to an extent have either a vanity owner or a group of vanity owners. Most years the vanity owners don’t care about it unless they have to pull money from elsewhere to go into the team. That would be kind of like telling 35 year old trophy wife that she can’t spend a month in Gstaad because you have to roll some cash into the ball club. That won’t happen.

    Some things that make the Hammers different. Liberty is a public company. More than that, the separate BATRA listing means what goes on inside the Braves op is limited by securities market oversight. The payments on the Battery debt should have been (and usually would have been) a “no brainer.” However, how do you collect rent from tenants who can’t use commercial space? And that rent is what is supposed to pay a significant part of the debt. And, if that debt isn’t paid, bad financial things start happening (maybe even as bad as foreclosure).

  23. @AL

    I don’t think the Braves sniff $160MM this year. If I had a guess, it’d be $125-130MM.

  24. @32 – That was your figure, not mine. And if the “new normal” is your new figure, then yeah, my ideal scenario is a pipe dream. I’d like to see your article on the “updated” payroll.

  25. If we get to $130M and we’re at $104M now, then I think you can add a starter and a position player. We might also see another 2019 where we’re quiet in the offseason but aggressive at the deadline depending on the way the 2021 regular season revenue goes. At some point, we’ll get back to that $160M payroll, and even if it means we spend the prorated equivalent in the second half, that still means you’re getting to the playoffs with a better squad than you did last year.

  26. I’m privately figuring that 2021 could be more like 1995 in terms of total games played — I think it’s possible that we have an altered/abbreviated spring schedule and fewer than 162 games in the spring, summer, and fall. Obviously it’s way too soon to say, so who knows?

    But let’s say that that’s what happens, for the sake of argument. Also for the sake of argument, let’s say that the union and the league agree once again to prorate salaries based on the number of leaguewide games played.

    So, let’s say that instead of 162 games, we play 144 games, like in 1995 — that’s 11% fewer games than normal. So, that means that you’re spending 11% less on payroll than you thought you were.

    So — if you believed you could predict that the league will play fewer than 162 games next year, would you be willing to hand out more free agent dollars (on paper), since the prorate would slash the actual amount you’d be on the hook to spend?

  27. Here’s my piece earlier and my thoughts on the matter:

    “I’ve heard floated from several opinions that I trust that believe dollars spent by MLB overall will be down 20%. That seems about right to me for the Braves, so I’m going to operate on the belief that the team will have a payroll in the $130MM range.”

    Where Do We Go From Here? Part 1, Braves Payroll

    Note….this is not a new thread.

  28. AAR – in a scenario where the 2021 MLB season is 144 games but otherwise is a standard season (no attendance restrictions) I think that would still point to a reduction in projected income (and spending) by teams. For one, most of the costs of team operation (paying salaries for all of the organization’s employees, operation and upkeep of the stadium, financing of team debt etc.) are close to fixed costs, so even if you drop games (and payroll) by 11% you won’t be dropping operating costs by the full amount. For another, having fan attendance returning to pre-2020 levels will probably require that a large percentage of Americans have taken an effective vaccine. It’s hard to know when we’ll reach that milestone, but unlikely that it occurs by next April.

    At this point in time, teams are clearly reducing their 2021 payroll until they have some ideas about what their 2021 cash flow is going to look like… and by the time there’s real clarity on the COVID timeline the odds are that we’ll already be into/near Spring Training. That may lead to a lot of conservative financial decisions around the league, leaving aside outliers like the Mets.

  29. @ 38,

    I think DuVall gets tendered. Not so on Camargo and Sliderman Jackson (too many other pieces likely to come close to “good Sliderman” and no way you want “Bad Sliderman”).

  30. My fault, Ryan. Pretty sure I read that right and made point to go back to it as a benchmark in my comment, but I may have misread barring a late change (alteration) – then there is a $3o mil difference. That effects a lot. Especially, as AAR suggests, an attempt to prorate in this environment. These guys took weeks just to agree on 60 games at proration. With the CBA coming up for reconciliation. we could be looking at hardball for some time. And as stated, 2021 is just as much up in the air as was this year.

  31. I think AAR is correct here, and that we will have uncertainty for a while, meaning that aside from some outliers most teams will be conservative in their moves. The Braves have been one of those teams (mostly) for a while now, so I expect to see little in the way of splashy moves past the new year. Of course, I know almost nothing but the scenarios in my head.

  32. MLB Rumors has the Braves getting Brantley, Lester, and Melancon. I like Brantley but I don’t think he fits the need. I’m tired of old pitchers past their prime and injury prone. If we keep Pache in CF, I’d like a Duvall/Pederson platoon in LF – whichever one is on the bench would sure be a nice piece to have on the bench. Pederson may be too expensive for a platoon role but maybe he needs a pillow contract, too. But he’s a CA-boy so he may not want to come east. It’d be nice for the Braves to be in on Bauer, Ozuna, or Springer, but I think that’s unlikely. Robbie Ray on a make good contract? I was going to go with Melancon but I think he’s expendable with Will Smith on an expensive contract.

    Here’s an out of the box one, I’m going with Robbie Ray on a make good contract. MLB Rumors has him at 1y, $6M – that’s a lot less risk for a guy less than 30 that still has great K-stuff. Maybe Tyler Matzek can help him get over his yips.

  33. Wait — is Lester injury prone? He’s been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball since his debut.

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