Prospect Profile: Matt Wright
Name: Matt Wright
Matt was taken by the Braves in the 21st round (640th overall) of the 2000 draft out of high school in Waco, Texas. The Braves saw in Wright a big kid who they could develop into a good pitcher. It has taken a while but Matt Wright is finally making his way to the majors. Matt started his professional career on a good note. He pitched out of the bullpen for the Gulf Coast Braves in 2000 and struck out 30 in 21 innings while allowing just 8 hits. His ERA was 0.86. In 2001, Matt went to Danville and was very good there as well. He struck out 89 in 72.2 innings and lowered his walk rate to 3.22/9 for a 1.18 WHIP. In 2002, Wright was promoted to single-A, Macon. He went 10-8 and lowered his ERA to 3.18 but his strikeouts were down to 8.61/9 and his walks were up to 3.54/9. The Braves decided to keep him in single-A to start 2003 and it was the right decision. He dominated the Sally league to the tune of a 1.65 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 10.76/9 K/9 before being promoted to high-A in the middle of the season. However, he struggled mightily in the second half of the season with MB with an ERA of 6.38 and a WHIP of 2.04. In 2004, he stayed at Myrtle Beach and fared much better. His ERA 3.53 and WHIP of 1.38 were decent but he also raised his strikeout rate to 9.55/9. Wright was hurt to start 2005 and when he came back to Mississippi he never found his groove. He once again struggled at his new stop by going 6-8 with a 6.11 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. Matt's prospect status in 2005 was not good being that he was 23 and he had just been injured and was struggling in AA.
2006 was a different story as Matt once again shook off his early struggles at his new level by dominating the Southern League. He went 7-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.15 WHIP before a callup. His strikeouts were good but not as good as they have been in the past. He struck out 84 in his 89 innings at Mississippi. In Richmond, Matt has once again struggled after a promotion. He is currently 1-4 with a 7.45 ERA. If history tells us anything it says that Matt will struggle for the remainder of the season before pitching well in Richmond next year.
I think Matt projects as a quality middle of the rotation starter. His walk rate has been around 3/9 when his is pitching well. He is going to have to keep that down because he is not going to be able to sustain a h/9 rate of 5 or 7 like he did some seasons in the minors. His strikeouts have been good all the way up so that shouldn't be a problem. Matt will probably be in Atlanta by 2009 but I suspect he will struggle initially. The test is going to be how well he can overcome his initial struggles and how the Braves deal with him when he struggles. If they are in a pennant race, the will not be able to allow him to struggle and this could stunt his development. If he is allowed to develop, however, I think he will be a good middle of the rotation guy for a while.
|2006||24||AA|| 7||3||2.22|| 15|| 14|| 89.0|| 74|| 26|| 22|| 28|| 84|| 7.48|| 2.83|| 8.50|| 1.15|
|24||AAA|| 1||4||7.45|| 6|| 6|| 29.0|| 39|| 25|| 24|| 19|| 22|| 12.10|| 5.89|| 6.82|| 2.00|