The Atlanta Braves and their sleeper bullpen

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Pitcher A.J. Minter /
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Atlanta Braves
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – FEBRUARY 22: Pitcher A.J. Minter /

A Shaky 2017 Atlanta Braves Bullpen Could Become a Strength in 2018

Last year the Atlanta Braves deployed a bullpen corps which found itself in the bottom third of the majors by year’s end. The starting rotation, also bottom third in the league, likely did a fair amount of hand-wringing when they handed the game off to the bullpen. After all, last year’s bullpen featured Luke Jackson, Jason Motte, Jim Johnson, and Eric O’FLaherty, Jason Hursh, and Ian Krol. Late inning meltdowns were commonplace, and the bullpen didn’t exactly instill confidence in the young pitchers who wanted something to show for their efforts.

While much could be written about just how awful that Braves bullpen was, it’s important to recognize there was also a tale of redemption by years’ end. As bad relievers played themselves out of a job, the relief arms of the future began to emerge and, thankfully, displace their incumbents.

As the calendar rolled to September, the Atlanta Braves bullpen evolved into a more serviceable entity. To wit, the bullpen logged 100.1 innings in September, and a collective 24.1 K%, 9.5 BB%, and 3.66 FIP. A collection of new faces led the charge, and along with some additional newer faces, give a reason for hope in 2018.