The Pirates announced they’ve designated Bryse Wilson for assignment. The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for Jarlín García, who has officially signed his one-year deal with a 2024 club option.
A fourth-round draftee of the Braves out of a North Carolina high school in 2016, Wilson developed into one of the sport’s better pitching prospects a few seasons later. The right-hander ranked among Baseball America’s top 100 minor league talents in advance of the 2019 season after debuting with three MLB appearances late in the prior year.
Despite that lofty prospect pedigree, Wilson never got much run in the Atlanta starting staff. He’d start just six of 12 outings the next two years before picking up eight starts in the first half of the 2021 campaign. Wilson pitched fairly well at the Triple-A level but managed only a 5.90 ERA through 23 appearances in an Atlanta uniform. In advance of the ’21 trade deadline, the Braves dealt him and minor league pitcher Ricky DeVito to Pittsburgh for reliever Richard Rodríguez.
That trade didn’t pan out as either team had envisioned. Rodríguez struggled down the stretch and was non-tendered at the end of the season. Wilson has spent a season and a half in Pittsburgh but didn’t seize a permanent rotation spot. Since landing with the Bucs, he’s posted a 5.37 ERA across 156 innings in 33 appearances (28 starts). Wilson struck out a below-average 15% of opposing hitters while allowing a .279/.330/.484 line in just under 700 plate appearances.
Wilson did demonstrate the quality control for which he was credited as a prospect. He walked only 6.2% of opponents as a Pirate, including a 6.3% clip through 115 2/3 frames this past season. He induced grounders this year at a roughly average 43.3% rate, the highest of his career.
The Pirates squeezed Wilson out of the rotation in recent weeks with free agent additions of Vince Velasquez and Rich Hill. That duo figures to join Roansy Contreras, JT Brubaker and Mitch Keller in the season-opening starting five. They’ll now have a week to trade Wilson or attempt to run him through waivers.
While Wilson hasn’t yet found much MLB success, he could attract the interest of a pitching-needy club. He just turned 25 this month and had a strong prospect pedigree in the not too distant past. Wilson’s velocity has backed up in recent years, dropping from the 94-95 MPH range to roughly 91-92 MPH this year. He’s shown above-average control and mixes six pitches, however, so another team with some uncertainty at the back of their starting staff could look into a claim. Wilson is out of minor league option years, so an acquiring team would have to keep him on their active roster or again make him available to other clubs.