The Braves will go with a older look late in games in 2010. 38-year old lefty Billy Wagner will be the Braves’ stopper in 2010. He pitched in 17 games (0 starts) for the Red Sox & Mets last season in which he was 1-1 with a 1.72 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Wagner missed most of last season while recovering from major surgery but he finished it with a bang whiffing 26 batters and only allowing 8 hits in 15 2/3 innings. That was enough for the Braves to ink him over the winter. Wagner has pitched in 782 games (0 starts) in his major league career and he is 40-38 with 385 saves, a 2.39 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. Wagner will do a solid job as the closer for the Braves in 2010 as long as he can stay healthy.
40-year old righty Takashi Saito will be the Braves’ set-up man in 2010. Saito pitched in 56 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 3-3 with 2 saves, a 2.43 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. In his four years in the majors, Saito has pitched in 236 games (0 starts) in which he is 15-10 with 83 saves, a 2.05 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.
31-year old righty Peter Moylan is the workhorse of the Braves’ bullpen. He pitched in 87 games (0 starts) last season and he was 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Bobby Cox has a ton of confidence in this guy and there is no reason to think that he won’t run him out to the mound 80+ in 2010 as long as he remains healthy.
25-year old lefty Eric O’Flaherty is also a guy that gets a ton of work for the Braves. He pitched in 78 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Look for O’Flaherty to get into 70+ games in 2010 for the Braves.
26-year old righty Jesse Chavez was acquired in a deal with the Rays over the winter (for Rafael Soriano). He pitched in 73 games (0 starts) for the Pirates last season in which he was 1-4 with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Chavez has good stuff so look for the Braves to coach him up in 2010.
28-year old righty Manny Acosta will have to pitch better than he did in 2009 if he wants to get in a lot of games for the Braves this year. Acosta pitched in 36 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP. Don’t look for Acosta pitching in any intense situations for the Braves in 2010.
24-year old Kris Medlen will likely be the long man in the pen for the Braves in 2010. He pitched in 37 games (4 starts) for the Braves last year and he was 3-5 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. He whiffed 72 batters in 67 2/3 innings last season so he does have pretty good stuff. Medlen can also make a spot start if needed.
33-year old righty Scott Proctor will probably continue rehabbing in the minors when the season starts. He last pitched in 2008 with the Dodgers before having a major surgery. Proctor has pitched in 262 games (1 start) in his major league career and he is 16-10 with 1 save, a 4.42 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Look for him to be on of the first pitchers called up by the Braves if they need help in the pen.
24-year old lefty Michael Dunn was a key part of the Javier Vazquez trade over the winter. He will start the season in AAA and get a call as soon as the need arises. Dunn pitched in 4 games (0 starts) for the Yankees last season and he was 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. He also pitched in 38 games in AA+AAA-ball last year in which he was 4-3 with 2 saves, a 3.31 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BULLPEN IN 2010: B+