At The Ballpark: Kyle Wright Sizzles in Florida State League Debut

Dunedin, FL – Kyle Wright was considered by many scouts and evaluators to be the top pitching prospect in the MLB Draft based on his experience at SEC powerhouse Vanderbilt, big league body (6’4/220 lbs.) and elite stuff.  The Braves selected him 5th overall in June and gave him a $7,000,000 bonus, $1.3m over slot and more than number 1 overall  pick Royce Lewis received from the Twins.

Wright made his pro debut on July 17 in the GCL and after 3 starts totaling a meager 5.2 IP, the Braves elected to advance him past Danville and Rome and straight to the Florida Fire Frogs of the High A Florida State League.

On a beautiful night in Dunedin, FL, fans got to see a matchup made in prospect heaven as Wright faced Top 100 prospects Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., as well as former 1st round picks, Max Pentecost and Reese McGuire.  Wright also faced a red-hot Connor Panas (1.062 OPS in July) and Cavan Biggio.

Based on his limited workload since leaving Vandy and joining the Braves, Wright’s workload was expected to be limited.  He pitched 2 perfect innings, striking out 1 and inducing 4 ground balls and zero hard contact.  He threw 29 pitches, 18 for strikes.  His fastball consistently sat at 94-97 while his breaking ball was 83.

Game Notes

  • Taylor Saucedo of Dunedin pitched his best game of the season, scattering 7 hits and 1 BB over 6 innings while striking out 8. The 24 year old lefty came into the game with 13 walks to 9 K over his last 4 appearances
  • A night after going 4-4 in a 17-1 route, Bo Bichette stayed hot with 2 hits and a walk. He has 6 hits in his last 7 AB to raise his average to .410 in 20 FSL games
  • Vlad Guerrero, Jr. went 1-4 with an RBI.  He came to the plate in the bottom of the 7th with the bases loaded and 2-1 lead.  He grounded to 3rd but reached on an errant throw by Matt Gonzalez that plated 2 runners.  In a lapse of judgment, the younger Guerrero did not hustle down the line and a few fans let him know it.
  • Jays LH reliever Kirby Snead pitched 2 scoreless innings to secure the 4-1 win and notch his 8th save, lowering his FSL ERA to 1.16.
  • Braves 34th ranked prospect Ricardo Sanchez relieved Wright in the 3rd and struggled giving up 2 runs and 3 straight hits to Bichette, Biggio, and Vlad, Jr.  He appeared to settle down throwing 3 more scoreless innings but walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th before being pulled.  He finished with 5 hits, 5 walks, and 2 K’s in 4.2 IP.  The 20 year old has a 4.98 ERA and 1.65 WHIP on the season.

Article featured image of Kyle Wright – courtesy Spain

Jason Woodell has written about prospects for numerous sites. He got his start with Prospects1500 and has provided reports on prospects for Baseball Prospectus, 2080 Baseball, and Pinstriped Prospects. Jason is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and former model in Jordan. He lives in Tampa, likes dogs, craft beer, and his wife…not necessarily in that order.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonAtTheGame.

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