If Kyle Wright never pitches for the Atlanta Braves again, his last outing for the team that drafted him couldn’t have gone much better for the righthander.
With Atlanta holding a 2-1 series lead over the Houston Astros in the World Series and veteran righty Charlie Morton out of the picture with a broken leg, prospect Dylan Lee started Game 4 about as poorly as possible. So with the bases loaded and one out, the Braves turned to Wright.
Most Braves fans probably cringed and began figuring out what the team would need to do to win a new three-game set after the Astros inevitably tied the series that night. After all, Wright made only two appearances for the Braves in the 2021 regular season, surrendering seven earned runs on seven hits, five walks and a pair of homers in just 6 1/3 total innings of work. He had previously fanned all three batters he faced in Game 2, but inconsistency has been the theme with Wright in the past.
This time, though, the Vanderbilt product delivered.
After allowing an inherited run to score on a groundout by Carlos Correa, Wright fanned Kyle Tucker to limit the first-inning damage to one run. From there, he pitched 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball, surrendering a solo home run to Jose Altuve in the fourth. That kept the Braves in the ball game enough that an RBI single from Austin Riley and solo shots from Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler were enough to take the 3-2 win in the game and a 3-1 lead in the series Atlanta eventually won in six games.
The team needed him, and on the biggest stage, Kyle Wright showed the home crowd what he was capable of.
From here, Wright’s future with the team is uncertain. He was drafted No. 5 overall in 2017, and by 2019, he was part of the early-season rotation mix. By 2020, the general feeling from throughout the Braves’ fanbase and media outlets was that it was time for Wright to establish himself, whether that was fair or not.
Regardless, Wright will turn 27 this season and has pitched in parts of four MLB seasons. He’s also got more than 400 innings of minor-league work, including 278 at the AAA level. In 2021, the righty pitched 137 innings in Gwinnett with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.182 WHIP, 137 strikeouts and 45 walks. Whether it’s with the Braves or another franchise, Wright needs to be on a major-league roster sooner rather than later.
There will surely be some temptation in the front office to pencil in Wright as an option for the opening-day rotation, particularly with the uncertainty surrounding Mike Soroka. The wiser choice, though, might be to hope that other organizations will see his postseason work and target him as part of a trade package.
But no matter how Wright’s story ends in Atlanta, he’ll always have Game 4.