Braves’ Kyle Wright asserts himself against Yankees’ big bats

Braves pitcher Kyle Wright is showing his stuff early in spring.     (Curtis Compton/



Braves pitcher Kyle Wright is showing his stuff early in spring. (Curtis Compton/

It was less than two years ago that Kyle Wright was pitching in college, a happy Vanderbilt Commodore.

Tuesday was one of those reminders that he has left the SEC far behind. Now, he is showing up at the ballpark pitching to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton before he can get a decent sweat going.

The Braves No. 1 draft pick out of Vandy in 2017 (fifth overall) didn’t shrink from the moment. Facing the New York Yankees in a spring game here Tuesday, Wright made it through three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (one a Stanton single), walking none and striking out three. He has yet to give up a run or walk a hitter in five innings this spring.

He has a plan for lineups like Tuesday’s. “I try not to put the names to who the hitters are because I know they are so talented. I tried to attack the zone as best I could, hopefully get ahead in the count and make better pitches and hopefully put them away,” Wright said.

The aggressiveness paid off against Judge, when Wright got him to strike him out with an artful 3-2 curveball.

“I feel like almost the better the hitters are the more you have to attack because getting ahead of those guys is key. Whenever they get their counts they usually don’t miss their pitches,” he said, sounding quite experienced.

“I think this is probably one of the better ones I’ve pitched,” he said of his scant major league experiences. “I attacked the zone pretty well and even times when I fell behind in counts I felt like I made some good pitches to get back into it. A great experience all the way around.

“I feel like I learned a lot today.”

The Braves dropped the Grapefruit League game, 5-1.

Given the way the Braves shuffle their young pitchers, and the ever-changing nature of the back end of the rotation, Wright is putting himself right in the mix.

“They’re all going to factor in at some point and time during the year,” manager Brian Snitker said of his young collection of arms, “and it’s good to see how they respond and handle themselves in these situations.”