The Atlanta Braves announced a number of roster moves this morning, the most consequential of which was placing ace Max Fried on the injured list, retroactive to September 6th, the team announced. Also, Kyle Wright was recalled and Jacob Webb reinstated from the injured list. Fan favorite utility man Charlie Culberson was designated for assignment.
Fried might be the single most important player on the Braves roster right now as the only reliable high-end arm in the rotation. In the wake of Mike Soroka’s season-ending injury, Mike Foltynewicz’s demotion, and Cole Hamels’ injury, Fried has ably stepped up and developed into an ace for the Braves. He’s currently a top contender for the Cy Young in the National League with a 6-0 record through 9 starts, 50 innings, a 1.98 ERA/2.47 FIP, and zero home runs allowed.
A worrying drop in velocity hit a season low in his last start on Saturday, as illustrated here by PitcherList.com (via Twitter), averaging just 91.7 mph after being as high as 94.1 mph for his first two starts of the year . The injury listed is a left-side muscle spasm of the lumbar spine, aka back spasms. The Braves are obviously hopeful that some rest and treatment can get him back on the hill.
In the meantime, Hamels is on the comeback trail, and he could be activated as soon as next Monday, per Baseball America’s Gabe Burns (via Twitter). For now, Wright will return from their alternate training site in Lawrenceville to re-join the rotation. The Braves will hope for better results this time around for the 24-year-old, who was hit with a 7.20 ERA/6.48 FIP while going 0-3 in 4 starts earlier this season – though The Athletic’s David O’Brien reports that Wright is just up for a spot start. Still, Wright is highly regarded, their 4th ranked prospect by Fangraphs, Baseball America, and MLB.com.
The 27-year-old Webb could provide boost to Atlanta’s right-side relief corps. Webb has yet to appear in 2020, but he put up a 1.39 ERA in 39 games in 2019 – his first big league experience. The 6’2″ right-hander brings a 95 mph heater buttressed by a curveball and 86 mph change that generated a 40% Whiff% in 2019.
Culberson, 31, only appeared in 9 games this season going 1 for 7 with a double and RBI. The utlilty man has mostly been used as a pinch-runner this season. Culberson had some big hits for the 2019 Braves, but he took a Fernando Rodney fastball to the cheek on a bunt attempt in Washington which broke his cheekbone and ended his season. Culberson hasn’t seen regular playing time since the injury.