The Atlanta Braves best relief pitcher has hit the injured list after a dominate start to the season. Anthony Swarzak is on the 10-day injured list, his absence will severely hurt the Braves pen.
Anthony Swarzak was an underrated pickup when the Atlanta Braves acquired the reliever. Few thought he would be anything more than an innings eater or back of the pen option for a team whose bullpen was struggling.
Swarzak came in and instantly helped to stabilize what had been a dumpster fire of a bullpen. While there is still reason to improve with Swarzak the Braves pen has been above average. They finished the month of June with the best ERA in baseball.
Swarzak is dealing with right shoulder inflammation, a concerning injury for a pitcher who has been key to Atlanta’s success. In his tenure with Atlanta Anthony has allowed one run in 17.1 innings pitched for Atlanta.
That stat alone is impressive and yet it doesn’t explain Swarzak’s full value to Atlanta. He was the one pitcher over the last month Atlanta knew what to expect from. Whether it was magically weaving his way out of a jam or coming in and pitching a shut down inning Swarzak was a high impact player for Atlanta.
Swarzak has had shoulder problems before in his career and there seems to be no indication of how long this injury will keep him out of the pen. With that in mind, it becomes even more urgent for Atlanta to address their bullpen before the MLB Trade Deadline in July.
Even if Swarzak were to return quickly the Atlanta pen could use at least one quality arm to add to the back of the pen. Allowing arms like Sean Newcomb and Luke Jackson a bit of rest when needed.
If Atlanta is unable to add another arm and Swarzak isn’t able to return soon Atlanta will have cause for concern. More to come as the Trade Deadline nears for Atlanta.