As Cooper also noted, Muller has walked 11 hitters across 33-1/3 innings this month. How he’s pounded the strike zone is an extremely encouraging development not only for the long term, but perhaps in the near future.
“I saw his last outing, his last few,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s good to see. Again, young guys with talent, you just keep running them out there and hopefully they figure it out.”
The Braves will seek pitching help at the deadline, though they would prefer a proven starter over a reliever. One reason: The bullpen can be bolstered by in-house options, as in how Sean Newcomb has found a niche in the role.
Among those who will warrant consideration is Muller, who, on paper, fits the mold of a power arm out of the bullpen. The Braves didn’t shy away from promotions during last season’s run, triggering a wave that included Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright. So it’s easy to envision them finding a place for Muller, even if it’s only to fill September innings.
Muller operated as a reliever at the Arizona Fall League, a means of keeping his innings down. He struck out 15 in 10-2/3 innings, earning AFL All-Star honors.
"Coming out of the 'pen, it's a bit of a different animal," Muller said. "It shows you that a lot of the stuff, the superstitions you have as a starter, you don't really need. Sometimes you just have to go in – you might get the seventh, you might get the fifth. You don't really know exactly what time you're going in. So just learning how to deal with that, and obviously it's something good for the future, being comfortable in that type of situation."
Of course, this is all dependent upon Muller’s progression. But if his performance in May is a sign of what’s to come, he’ll be the next coveted pitching prospect knocking on Atlanta’s door.