The Braves announced tonight that top right-handed pitching prospect Matt Wisler will be promoted tomorrow and make his big league debut against the Mets. Righty Sugar Ray Marimon will be sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett to clear room on the 25-man roster, and the team has an open spot on its 40-man roster. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien tweeted earlier this afternoon that he expected Wisler to get the call for tomorrow’s start.
Acquired from the Padres in the blockbuster trade that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr. to San Diego, Wisler entered the 2015 season ranked as the No. 34 prospect in the game, according to Baseball America. Baseball Prospectus ranked Wisler 53rd, while Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com ranked him 69th. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel pegged Wisler 41st overall.
Wisler has pitched reasonably well at Triple-A this season, although his numbers don’t line up with the type of production one might expect from such a highly touted prospect. In 65 innings thus far, he’s worked to a 4.29 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He’s been plagued by a 64 percent strand rate, which helps to explain why FIP credits Wisler with a much more favorable 3.33 mark.
Per BA, Wisler sits in the 92-94 mph range and tops out at 96 with a two-seam fastball that features above-average sink. He also has a lively four-seamer and control of his entire arsenal — a trait that has manifested itself in his stellar BB/9 rate. McDaniel notes that his slider is a plus pitch, while his changeup is average or better at times, and he can command the ball on both sides of the plate. BA noted that most scouts see Wisler as a No. 3 type of starter on a contending club, and all of the aforementioned scouting reports agreed heading into the season that he could be ready to join the rotation midway through this year.
Wisler will step into the rotation spot that was recently vacated when Atlanta optioned fellow promising righty Mike Foltynewicz to Triple-A. He’ll join Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Shelby Miller and Williams Perez for the time being. Atlanta has experienced quite a bit of change in its rotation through the first portion of the season, with the jettisoning of struggling veterans Eric Stults and Trevor Cahill, the decision to option Foltynewicz, and a shoulder injury that ended Mike Minor’s season before it began. Given all of that turnover, it would seem that Wisler may have an opportunity to carve out a long-term spot in the Braves’ starting five from this point forth.
If Wisler is indeed here to stay following Friday’s promotion, he’ll accrue 109 days of Major League service time in 2015, which should leave him comfortably shy of Super Two status as he works through the arbitration process. He’d be controllable through the 2021 season in the event that he remained at the big league level from this point forth.