Kyle Wright

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Kyle Hardy Wright

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Kyle Wright, was the 5th player selected in the 2017 amateur draft, by the Atlanta Braves out of Vanderbilt University. He was a consensus top-five pick going into the draft, and it was even speculated that he might go first overall, although the Minnesota Twins, who held the top pick, selected high school SS Royce Lewis instead. He was seen as one of the more advanced prospects in the draft, giving him a chance of reaching the majors quickly. The Braves did not waste any time signing him, giving him a $7 million bonus on June 16th; it was the highest bonus paid to any draft choice since 2011.

He was named to the United States team for the 2018 Futures Game. When he made his major league debut with the Braves on September 4, 2018, he became the first player selected in the 2017 draft to do so. In his debut, he pitched two scoreless and hitless innings of relief in a 5-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. He had no decisions in 4 outings in his first taste of the majors, and in 2019 had another cup of coffee with the Braves when he went 0-3, 8.69 in 7 games, including his first 4 starts. Then, during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he made 8 starts for Atlanta, going 2-4, 5.21. He allowed 24 walks in 38 innings. While he clearly had talent, it was a bit of a surprise to see him getting to work in the postseason, but he did very well in his first outing, defeating the Miami Marlins, 7-0, in Game 3 of the Division Series on October 8th, pitching 6 scoreless innings and striking out 7. However, his other start, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS on October 14th, was a disaster as he could not get out of the 1st inning, allowing 7 runs on 5 hits, including homers by Joc Pederson and Edwin Rios. The Dodgers won the game handily, 15-3.

In 2021, he was back in AAA for most of the year, going 10-5, 4.02 for the Gwinnett Braves, after having gone 11-4, 4.17 for the same team in 2019, before the pandemic. He only made 2 starts in Atlanta, and they were not very convincing, as he went 0-1, 9.95. He was added to the Braves' roster for the World Series following the injury to Charlie Morton in Game 1. He pitched 5 2/3 innings in two appearances in relief, allowing just one run. In Game 4 on October 30th, he replaced starter Dylan Lee with just one out in the 1st inning after three of the first four batters in the game had reached base; one runner scored on a ground ball, but Wright was outstanding, allowing just one run over the following four innings. The Braves were down to the Houston Astros, 2-0, when he left the game after doing a great job, and his team rallied with 3 runs in the 6th and 7th to win the game, 3-2. That excellent outing served as a prelude for the 2022 season, when he was as good as anyone could have anticipated back when he was a first-round pick in 2017. On September 24th, he won his 20th game of the season, in a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, becoming the first pitcher in the majors that year to do so. He was also the seventh Braves pitcher to achieve the mark since the move to Atlanta in 1966, and the first since Russ Ortiz in 2003. He finished the season at 21-5, 3.19 in 30 starts, with 174 strikeouts in 180 1/3 innings. In the postseason, he started Game 2 of the Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 12th and was excellent, allowing no runs on two hits over six innings to earn a 3-0 victory. Unfortunately, it was Atlanta's only win of the series, as they were upset in four games by the Phils.

He was expected to consolidate his position as one of the top starting pitchers in the league in 2023, but instead he tumbled back down the ladder, going 1-3, 6.97 in 9 games. He was out of action from early May to September with right shoulder inflammation, and he earned his only victory of the season in his final outing, in relief, on September 28th against the Chicago Cubs and did not appear in the postseason. He underwent shoulder surgery after the season, forcing him to miss all of 2024. However, before he could return, on November 17, 2023, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in return for Jackson Kowar, another first-rounder who had been largely a disappointment in the majors.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL Wins Leader (2022)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2022)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (2022)
  • Won one World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 2021

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Bowman: "Wright's 20th 'W' puts his name among Braves greats: Atlanta moves to 1 1/2 games back of Mets thanks to RHP's historic win",, September 24, 2022. [1]
  • Steve Megargee: "College baseball: Kyle Wright benefiting from Vanderbilt's rich pitching culture",, June 8, 2017. [2]
  • Travis Mewhirter: "Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright taken No. 5 in MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves", SEC, June 12, 2017. [3]

Related Sites[edit]