Matt Wisler: Closer Look At Braves’ Top Prospect


Matt Wisler, the Atlanta Braves‘ number two organizational prospect, is scheduled to make his major league debut as the Braves take on the NL East division leading rival New York Mets in a three game series beginning tonight.

-= SEE ALSO: Jace Peterson: Braves’ 2B Now and in the Future? =-

Rumors were circulating that the Braves might call up Wisler from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace the struggling Mike Foltynewicz , but we got confirmation yesterday from a Tweet by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s David O’Brien:

The Atlanta Braves have had obvious problems with their bullpen this year, but the starting rotation has had some problems as well this season. Sitting on a 5.07 ERA, Julio Teheran has had command issues, and we’d all like to forget that neither Eric Stultz nor Trevor Cahill worked out very well.

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Add to those woes that now the aforementioned Foltynewicz has now been sent down to get a grip on his own control issues (the very reason Wisler got the nod), and we know the bullpen hasn’t been the only issue.

If you’re a casual fan, you may know little about Matt Wisler, but even die-hard Braves’ fans may know little of Wisler.

Part of that is because up until the trade in early of April of Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr (I still call him BJ) to the San Diego Padres, Wisler was a part of the Padres organization. Wisler was a part of that trade, and since the trade has spent his time with Atlanta in the minor league system in Gwinnett.

Check out the following video of Matt Wisler from a YouTube video posted by Rick Willis of KUSI Sports in San Diego:

That video will give you some data, but if you’re uneducated on Matt Wisler, there’s much to learn, so sit back and get out your notebook.

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  • My hope here is to send you away with an A+ grade, and that coupled with my hope that Wisler will pitch with an A+ performance tonight. What can we expect?

    You might take a look at the numbers in the table below from Baseball Reference and ask, “What the heck are we bringing up another struggling pitcher for?”

    After all, even with the command issues of Mike Foltynewicz, Wisler’s 4.29 ERA in twelves games over 65 innings pitched, his allowing 68 hits that led to 34 runs, walking 13 batters and giving up five home runs doesn’t seem impressive either.


    Provided by View Original Table
    Generated 6/19/2015.

    No one can deny that Wisler’s performance thus far in Gwinnett hasn’t been exactly stellar, but there’s more to Wisler than meets the eye, or the small sample size in the table above.  If we take a closer look at the bigger picture, Wisler has the talent, and is a very safe bet to bring up to the show to see if he can turn the opportunity into gold.

    You should check out Wisler’s overall stats on either Baseball Reference or Fangraphs to get the bigger picture, but let me take a moment to point out a number of Wisler’s strengths, weaknesses, and what analysts have said about him:

    • According to MLB Trade Rumors, Baseball America ranked Wisler as the 34th best prospect in baseball, Fangraphs gave him a 41st ranking, and Baseball Prospectus a 53rd spot! (some subscriptions required to those sites)
    • According to David Lee and J.J. Jansons of Baseball America, Wisler has a fastball with good movement in the range of 92-96, and he’s capable of sustaining those speeds late in games. Additionally, Wisler has a slider in the low-80s with good bite and a two-plane action, and a changeup in the mid 80s that is above-average with fade and deception.
    • Much like Mike Foltynewicz, Wisler’s speed is good, although not quite as powerful, and he has often shown some of the same command issues. Unlike Mike, Wisler has more depth to his repertoire.
    • With all Wisler’s strengths, he’s currently showing only enough prowess for me to see him as a 4th or 5th starter, but I he does have the potential (despite some hiccups of concern) to go as high as perhaps a #3 starter.
    • According to Keith Law of ESPN (Insider Subscription Required) the knock on Matt Wisler is…

    "… his delivery, as he doesn’t use his lower half as much as he should and he pronates his pitching arm late, with his front foot already touching the ground. That leads to some inconsistency in his slot, but he hasn’t had any trouble yet with command or control, only with his feel for his changeup, which he can’t turn over properly when his arm drifts down."

    So those are just some of the strengths and weaknesses of Matt Wisler. It always remains to be seen what will happen with any young prospect as they enter the big show, but the 22-year-old, 6’3″, 195 lb, highly touted prospect could be one of those that makes the most of his opportunity, and excels. That outcome is certainly something the Atlanta Braves need, even if John Hart and company (and myself) are more realistic about such expectations.

    Matt Wisler came over to the Atlanta Braves in a trade with the Padres. I have a close friend who believes, like I do, that former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black would be a better coach and a better fit for the Braves than Fredi Gonzalez.

    As you probably know, Black was fired by the Padres very recently. While a sidenote to this story, I do think Black has a better mind for baseball than Gonzalez. Some of you will disagree with me on that.

    For a little insight and your continued A+ education, here’s what Bud had to say about Matt Wisler from a video on Need I say more?

    Next: Jace Peterson: Braves’ 2B Now and in the Future?

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