How Kyle Wright built confidence in his arsenal that allows him to thrive (2023)

ATLANTA— He is ahead of Max Scherzer, Shohei Ohtani and reigning Cy Young winners Corbin Burnes and Robbie Ray in fWAR. He owns a top-10 ERA and has a pass rate (39.4 percent) that ranks in the 95th percentile.

Suffice to say, Kyle Wright hasn't had a run like this at this level.

"It feels great, but it's still early," said Wright, who has a 0.9 fWAR and 1.08 ERA in three starts.

While we collectively saw the seeds of his success in 2022 when he took the ball in his Game 4World serials, follow Dylan Lee first and keep holding himSterin a streak over 4 2/3 innings, Wright's work to find his groove again began months ago.

After an outing on June 23 against theMetsin which he allowed five runs on four hits and lasted just two innings, Wright returned to the Stripers still looking for some consistency. He gave up four earned runs against Durham on July 1 and left Nashville on his next start with more than seven points, only to be stiffened for six points by Charlotte as he took the mound again.

But then it went on the run, and from July 21-October. 2, Wright posted a 2.29 ERA in 13 starts, allowing two runs or fewer on 11 occasions, including four shutouts.

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"It was the middle of last year at (Triple-A) Gwinnett," the right-hander said. “I kind of started hitting the reset button and trying to look back at an old video to see what I was doing right and really trying to work hard to get back into it. I feel like little by little, every beginning, it started to get a little bit better, a little bit better."

The World Series was the highlight, Wright entered with one out in the first with the bases loaded. He got Carlos Correa - who has hit 17 postseason home runs - to fly out and hit Kyle Tucker to get out of trouble. He had allowed a runner past second before Jose Altuve hit a solo home run in the fourth, striking out Alex Bregman and Yordan Álvarez along the way.

"It's kind of hard not to get confidence in that, throwing at the highest level, the biggest games in our sport," said Wright. “Certainly those two (Triple-A and the World Series) are such a marriage together. ... That's how it all came together."

During his games, Wright flashed back to videos from his last college season with Vanderbilt and during his freshman year with the pros. His focus was on perfecting his mechanics and getting down the hill faster, but without going too fast.

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"In previous years I started flying, opened up my front end and started to get away," he said. “I think by getting my momentum down the hill I don't have to feel like I'm pushing it with my front. He just does his thing and everything comes out on time. Better extension, better ball spin. I feel like I'm holding my arrow a little better. Everything is a little easier."

Wright's four-seat average currently stands at a career-high 95.3 mph, up nearly two mph year over year, but the biggest change is his reliance on a curveball that has become the foundation of his arsenal.

In 2020, Wright's only season in which he threw more than 19 2/3 innings at the major league level, he was heavy on the slugger, throwing that pitch more than any other 33.2 percent of the time and having 13.1 hundred usage percentages with the curve. Fast forward to this season, and Wright throws 33.8 percent curveballs and produces a 42.9 percent whiff rate and a .125 average. Among all starters, those numbers rank 10th and 14th respectively, and in wCB terms, his 2.5 is second only to Burns (3.2).

"That's been my focus is to use that pitch," Wright said. “After college, my pitches were fastball/curveball and early in my professional career (I threw a slider) and had some success with that. We started using it a lot, and it wasn't my best pitch, I don't think. I just didn't have the best feeling. It's still a good field, but I just wasn't very familiar with it.

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“I really started, probably the 2020 season, that's when we started emphasizing the curveball, that's when I got picked for the first time. ... Then I really started to pick up on the usage, and what I did then really continues into this season.

How Kyle Wright built confidence in his arsenal that allows him to thrive (1)

At 26, Wright is older than both Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka, who were drafted before him, and just nine months younger than Max Fried. Anderson penned one of the best resumes of any pitcher to start his career as a healthy Soroka was an All-Star and Fried became a legitimate ace.

Wright was part of the same pitching wave the Braves acquired during their rebuild, but he has yet to complete a season at the same level as these other young Atlanta guns. While he had his struggles, he also consistently missed opportunities.

Five years into his career, Wright has made 24 appearances with 17 starts, and when he takes the mound in Thursday's series final againstBaby's, it will be only the second time he has made four consecutive turns in the rotation. The last was from July 28-Aug. 14, 2000, when Wright had a 7.20 ERA and 5.68 walks per nine, and then Gwinnett was called up, beginning the overhaul of his arsenal that the Braves are now reaping.

There were more than a few moments of frustration, and while Wright watched these other young Braves starters blossom, it wasn't that he measured himself against them, it was his own godmother.

“I had a lot of frustrations with myself and how I was performing just because I knew I could play much better than I was,” he said. “I have to give a lot of credit to a lot of people there.

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That includes his parents, his teammates and the work he's done with Braves mental performance coach Zach Sorsensn, who helped Wright better focus on separating failure from success, he said, by not getting too high or too low. to reach.

"Control what you can control is the most important [and] don't worry so much about the results if you just run it," Wright said. "If you're constantly worried about the outcome, you're only putting yourself in a bad position. I've often found myself that way."

Watch Kyle Wright turn 11 and try not to be fooled for the 2022

— Bally Sporten: Braves (@BravesOnBally)23 april 2022

But he looked to put those seasons behind him and is part of a tight end in the 2017 draft that has a collective moment. The Reds' Hunter Greene, the No. 2 overall pick, has the highest average fastball speed in the league at 98.9 mph, and MacKenzie Gore, third by the Padres, has a 1.74 ERA.

Then there's Wright, who has knocked out Cincinnati in six innings with six hits, struck out nine Padres in five two-run innings and then, most recently, struck out eleven in six shutout frames against the Marlins. In total, Wright has walked only two batters with 26 strikeouts.

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The starter who had a 6.75 ERA the past three seasons, including 9.95 last season, has become one of the more surprising first-month branches of the season.

"I want to keep doing this for a whole season," said Wright. “It kind of gets back to the point: you can't go too high, you can't go too low. I have to stay in the middle. There will be competitions. There will be games when I feel like I have even better things. Just when you don't have your stuff, find a way to give the team a chance to win."


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