Braves’ Kyle Wright: It’s ‘cool’ to be among MLB’s best starting pitchers thus far

Atlanta's Kyle Wright delivers against the Mets. Wright is tied for seventh in MLB with a 1.74 ERA through five starts. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta's Kyle Wright delivers against the Mets. Wright is tied for seventh in MLB with a 1.74 ERA through five starts. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Credit: AP

In the second game of the Brewers-Braves series, Milwaukee started a pitcher who went from one of baseball’s worst arms to one of its best in two years.

That guy, Corbin Burnes, pitched as Kyle Wright, who is writing an inspiring story of his own, watched from the Braves’ dugout. Wright came out of nowhere and, at least statistically, has put himself among baseball’s best starting pitchers through a month of the season.

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“Seeing a guy like (Burnes) pitch, it’s just really cool to have my name somewhere near his,” Wright said Sunday. “I’m not saying I’m there, but having it near his is pretty cool. Definitely want to try to stay involved with those guys as much as I can. I feel like I have the stuff to do so, but you’ve just got to continue to stay the course and keep pitching.”

Wright is tied for seventh in MLB with a 1.74 ERA through five starts. As of this writing, he is slightly ahead of Burnes, Justin Verlander, Walker Buehler and other dominant starters in that category. Wright has 37 strikeouts and only seven walks.

Wright is aware of Burnes’ story. Burnes is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, but no one could’ve seen it coming.

In 2019, Burnes posted an 8.82 ERA over 49 innings. He is the only pitcher in Brewers history to have an 8.82 ERA or worse over at least 49 innings, and is only one of 20 arms in the sport’s history to do it.

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Wright, on the other hand, is a former No. 5 overall pick from Vanderbilt who had always struggled to gain footing in the majors. He spent a ton of time in Triple-A last season. Outsiders perhaps thought this season could be his final chance to establish himself. Many wondered if he would ever achieve consistency and live up to his potential.

But look at him now, among baseball’s best pitchers to begin 2022.

“It’s pretty cool,” Wright said. “There’s a ton of good pitchers in this league. I know it’s early, but even to have my name up there with them this early is definitely pretty cool, and it gives me something to work for and work toward. I want to be involved with all those names.”

This season, Wright has logged two scoreless starts and one in which he allowed only a run. He has displayed his talent in various ways, but perhaps the best example of his growth came in New York in his last start.

He allowed three runs on nine hits over seven innings. He wasn’t as dominant as he was in other outings, but this is the point. In previous years, Wright might have spiraled. This time, he gave the Braves a chance to win on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff.

“There's a ton of good pitchers in this league. I know it's early, but even to have my name up there with them this early is definitely pretty cool, and it gives me something to work for and work toward. I want to be involved with all those names."

- Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright

“It was super gratifying because I did not really feel good about any of my off-speed pitches,” he said. “I was able to kind of use my curveball here and there, but really when I got to two strikes, I didn’t have any of my strikeout pitches. For me just to kind of find a way to get to the end there was huge.”

Now the righty looks ahead to his start against the Red Sox at Truist Park on Tuesday, when he’ll look to continue his incredible start to 2022.

“They’ve got a lot of good players,” Wright said. “They’ve been struggling a little bit, but I don’t expect that to go on for very long. They just got too much talent. I faced them a lot in spring training, and obviously it’s different in spring training, but I feel like I have a decent idea of kind of their identity.”

Brian Snitker on Mother’s Day

Asked what Mother’s Day means to him, Braves manager Brian Snitker commended his wife, Ronnie, and their daughter, Erin.

Ronnie helped keep their family together during Brian’s coaching days in the minors. Of course, Erin observed her mother throughout these years.

“That’s two of the best ones out there, in my opinion,” Snitker said. “Ronnie, to get us through what she has over the years, she went through a lot. Erin had a very good role model in her mother to see how she navigated our life, because it wasn’t easy when Dad is taking off and leaving for six months at a time and the kids are active and Mom’s holding a job and making sure they get everywhere they go and dragging them all over the Southeast for me for the majority of their life.

“I’m blessed to have both of them in my life.”

Ronald Acuña continues to reach base

When Ronald Acuña hit an infield single on Sunday, he extended his on-base streak to 23 consecutive games dating back to last season.

This streak is the best in the National League, and Acuña trails only Boston’s J.D. Martinez (26 games) for the longest active streak of its kind.

Acuña holds a .374 on-base percentage during this run, which dates to June 25, 2021.

Kenley Jansen continues to rack up saves

Kenley Jansen allowed a run in Saturday’s win, but he’s been dominant. He now has 25 saves in as many opportunities, which is tied for the longest active streak in the majors.

Jansen holds a 2.38 career ERA over 712 games, which is the fourth-lowest mark in history among players with as many appearances.