Although solid in his first two Triple-A starts, Kyle Wright had yet to show why he is regarded as one of the Braves' top young hurlers. That changed Monday night.Atlanta's No. 2 prospect allowed one hit and one walk while striking out eight over seven innings as Triple-A Gwinnett blanked
Although solid in his first two Triple-A starts, Kyle Wright had yet to show why he is regarded as one of the Braves' top young hurlers. That changed Monday night.
Atlanta's No. 2 prospect allowed one hit and one walk while striking out eight over seven innings as Triple-A Gwinnett blanked Louisville, 6-0, at Coolray Field.
After a strong Stripers debut on Aug. 3 in which he allowed two runs over 5 2/3 hitless innings after walking four, Wright (2-1) was charged with five runs -- four earned -- in six frames last Wednesday against Buffalo. He had no such trouble against Louisville, despite pitching without a lead until the fifth inning.
"For me, I wanted to bounce back after that last start," Wright said. "I saw the video of [MLB.com's top overall prospectVladimir Guerrero Jr.] hitting that ball about 900 feet off me about 900 different times. So I made a point of trying to be more efficient and giving my team a chance to win."
Gameday box score
The No. 24 overall prospect issued a walk to D.J. Peterson in the second, the only baserunner for the Bats until Tim Federowicz singled with two outs in the fifth. No other Louisville players reached against Wright, who struck out a pair in the sixth and ended his outing by whiffing Peterson to finish the seventh. The 22-year-old threw 90 pitches -- 56 for strikes.
"Tonight, was good, in that I did what I wanted to out there," Wright explained. "My last two starts, I felt like I was moving too quick on the mound. I was trying to throw too hard and be too fine with my pitches, which was wearing me out earlier than it should have. My breaking balls were spinning and up in the zone. I tried to relax, simplify my mechanics and let my arm do what it's supposed to. I felt all of my pitches were better because of that."
Atlanta's first-round pick in last year's Draft posted a 2.65 ERA in nine starts between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast and Class A Advanced Florida State Leagues. Wright began the year with Double-A Mississippi and improved greatly as the season went on. The right-hander began June with a 4.27 ERA, which spiked to 4.71 after his outing on June 8.
"I think I was trying to make the perfect pitch too often and fell behind too much," Wright said of his early struggles. "I'm attacking the plate much better and keeping the pressure on the hitters. I was just falling behind on too many batters, and when you do that, they hit you. It's all about keeping things simple and attacking the zone."
But Wright didn't allow more than one run in four of his final seven starts in the Southern League, highlighted by a strong July in which he sported a 2.33 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP over 27 frames. He finished 6-8 with a 3.70 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 109 1/3 innings and 20 starts with the M-Braves.
Through three starts for Gwinnett, the Vanderbilt product sports a 2.89 ERA and a 19-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 2/3 innings.
"Whenever I have bad outings, it's generally because I tried to do too much," the Huntsville, Alabama, native said. "I always want to be really good every time out there. The competitive edge and want-to masks what I'm trying to do sometimes. But again, when I simplify things and get back to the basics of pitching and let my defense do their thing ... that's when I'm at my best."
Chase Whitley and Adam McCreery tossed a perfect frame apiece to complete the one-hit shutout.
Danny Santana had two hits and an RBI for Gwinnett, which scored twice in the fifth, three times in the sixth and once in the seventh after being held hitless through 4 2/3 frames.
Louisville starter Jackson Stephens struck out three over two perfect frames on a Major League rehab assignment. Jesús Reyes (1-1) gave up two runs on one hit and four walks with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.