You really shouldn’t base your entire thought process related to a player on a single game.
That would be very unwise to decide how you’re going to evaluate a player in any sport, but especially in baseball, which is based on much larger sample sizes. No matter how important or impressive that game was, it shouldn’t be the crux of your support of a player.
Yet, that’s exactly what I’m going to do with Bryse Wilson.
If you’re reading this, you know exactly what game I’m going to focus on, too. Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers was that big of a deal for the 22-year-old right-hander from North Carolina.
With the Atlanta Braves coming off their first loss of the 2020 postseason, a 15-3 thrashing no less, the team was in a less-than-ideal spot. Needing a win from a fourth starter they didn’t really seem to have, the Braves were facing future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw with all momentum threatening to slip away.
Enter Bryse Freaking Wilson.
All Wilson did was throw six innings of one-hit, one-run magic with just one walk against five strikeouts. He surrendered a solo home run to designated hitter Edwin Rios in the third inning but then sat down 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. Seemingly every pitch in his arsenal was working, ranging from a curve ball in the high 70s to a fastball that touched 96 miles per hour and stayed as high as 95 in his final inning.
With that, Wilson set up a 10-2 Braves win in his playoff debut that put the good guys one win away from their first World Series in 25 years. What happened after that? Well, we’re not going to talk about that right now.
What we will talk about is how uplifting it was to see another starting option emerge, even if only for one night. Who knows what 2021 will hold for Wilson, but it’s hard to imagine a more positive way for a young pitcher to head into the offseason. He got to see firsthand that, against perhaps the best offense in baseball, his stuff works.
The outing also should’ve earned him a nickname, and it’s a shame that “Bulldog” is already taken. Maybe just “The Bull”?
Back to the business at hand, though. That confidence could be incredibly valuable for a rotation that will likely need another arm or two in 2021.
Also encouraging is that 2020 was the best season of Wilson’s young career. While his 4.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings that included two starts isn’t Cy Young material, it showed growth from his work in 2018 and 2019. And Wilson’s best outings came at the end of the regular season, when he posted a 2.08 ERA in his final four appearances. That included a scoreless five-inning start against the Marlins on Sept. 22, which he allowed three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts, a career high.
Perhaps most encouraging, though, is that Wilson is still just 22 years old. He has, at times, felt like a player who has been around long enough to have established himself by now, but that isn’t reality. Wilson is just a few months older than Ian Anderson, who possibly wouldn’t have even seen the majors this season for any meaningful work if not for the well-documented issues that the Braves rotation faced this year. In fact, Wilson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, three rounds after Anderson.
So for now, let’s just choose to take his 2020 as a sign of big things ahead for Bryse “The Bull” Wilson.
ENTER THE BRAVES JOURNAL CONTEST FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A NEW BRAVES JOURNAL TEE!
We’ve just put in an order for a new Braves Journal tee and I’m really excited about it! The shirts should be in sometime later this week, so I wanted to give everyone a chance to win a free shirt! Here are the Rules of our Contest:
- On this thread only (not on Twitter or any other social media outlet), predict the Braves first Free Agent signing of the winter.
- Player has to given a guaranteed MLB contract (sorry Abraham Almonte, you don’t qualify).
- Once a name is used, it cannot be used again, so keep up with the list.