The Braves announced that they have selected the contract of outfielder Forrest Wall. In a corresponding move, left-hander Kolby Allard has been placed on the 60-day injured list, retroactive to July 17, with left shoulder nerve inflammation.
Allard, 25, came over to Atlanta in an offseason trade with the Rangers, with Jake Odorizzi going the other way. Allard suffered a Grade 2 oblique strain during Spring Training and began the regular season on the injured list. He was reinstated three weeks ago and has made four appearances for the club since then, but departed his most recent start with shoulder tightness.
The club hasn’t provided a specific timeline but it appears the issue is serious enough that they don’t expect him back in the next two months, given his immediate placement on the 60-day version of the injured list. That means he won’t be eligible to return until mid-September at the earliest, perhaps indicating his season is in jeopardy. It seems the trade won’t work out well for either side, since Odorizzi suffered his own shoulder injury during the spring and will miss all of 2023. It’s possible Atlanta could still come out ahead in the long run, as Allard has three more seasons of control beyond this one. Though given his injury and 6.10 career ERA, he could be a non-tender candidate this winter.
Allard wasn’t the most important player on the Atlanta roster but this is nonetheless the latest in a string of serious injuries for their rotation. He’s now the fourth starter the club has on its 60-day IL, alongside Huascar Ynoa, Max Fried and Kyle Wright. That leaves their current rotation mix as Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, Bryce Elder and Michael Soroka. Strider and Morton give the club a strong duo at the front. Elder has been good overall this year but was rocked for seven earned runs in his most recent start. Soroka has a 5.40 ERA and might encounter workload limitations at some point after missing most of the past three years.
Fried is on a rehab assignment and could rejoin the rotation in the next few weeks with Wright potentially behind him, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see the club pursue some staring pitching in the weeks to come. In addition to the injuries to their regular starters, they’ve also seen depth pitchers like Allard and Ian Anderson drop out of the picture, the latter due to Tommy John surgery. Dylan Dodd, Jared Shuster or AJ Smith-Shawver have had brief stints in the big leagues without seizing larger roles. Since the club has a strong lineup and bullpen, the rotation would be a sensible focus for them at the deadline.
As for Wall, the 27-year-old finally cracks a big league roster almost a decade after being drafted by the Rockies in 2014. He was traded to the Blue Jays in 2018 as part of the Seunghwan Oh deal but topped out at Triple-A in that organization. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners last year but again didn’t get called to the show. Another minor league deal with Atlanta for 2023 has finally paid off with today’s promotion.
He’s now played in 290 Triple-A games across four different seasons, hitting a combined .259/.344/.373 in those. He doesn’t have much power, having never hit more than 11 home runs in a season, but he’s walking at a 13.5% clip this year. He’s also a proficient base stealer, getting over 35 in each of the past three seasons, including 52 last year and another 45 already this year. He’s capable of playing all three outfield slots.
Atlanta has a regular outfield of Ronald Acuña Jr., Michael Harris II and Eddie Rosario. Rosario has been dealing with some hamstring tightness of late, which could open up some extra playing time, though the club also has Sam Hilliard and Kevin Pillar on hand. Even if he doesn’t immediately carve out a regular role, Wall should be able to serve as a versatile bench piece who can pinch run or serve as a defensive replacement.