With the changes the Braves made before the trade deadline and the signing of Will Smith, Atlanta’s bullpen has a chance to be one of the best in baseball.
Last year to begin the regular season, the Braves had Arodys Vizcaino, Shane Carle, Jonny Venters, Wes Parsons and Jesse Biddle on the roster. Things have drastically changed for the better. Manager Brian Snitker will have a good problem to figure out when to pitch his solid group of relievers.
Last year’s Bullpen ERA: 4.18 – 11 in MLB and 5 in the NL
Gone from last season: Josh Tomlin (50 relief appearances), Jerry Blevins (45), Anthony Swarzak (44)
Returning Relievers: Luke Jackson (70), Jacob Webb (36), AJ Minter (36), Chad Sobotka (32), Shane Greene (27), Touki Toussaint (23), Mark Melancon (23), Chris Martin (20), Grant Dayton (14), Darren O’Day (8), Jeremy Walker (6), Huascar Ynoa (2)
2019 Saves: Jackson (18), Melancon (11), Minter (5), Webb (2), Greene (1)
New Relievers: Will Smith (63 games – 34 saves for San Francisco)
Other Candidates: Patrick Weigel, Phil Pfeifer, Tucker Davidson
NOTES: The Braves added Martin, Greene and Melancon near the trade deadline and then Smith to start the offseason. This is the best the bullpen has looked going into a season on paper since 2012 when they still had Craig Kimbrel, Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters. There’s little doubt this will be the best bullpen in the National League East and possibly all of baseball.
AGES on Opening Day: O’Day (37), Melancon (35), Martin (33), Dayton (32), Greene (31), Smith (30), Jackson (28), Sobotka (26), Webb (26), Minter (26), Weigel (25), Walker (24), Davidson (24), Ynoa (21)