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Braves Pounce On Kyle Wright

When asked where the Braves had Kyle Wright on their draft board, scouting director Brian Bridges said, “He was waaaay up there.”

More than a few observers projected the Vanderbilt righthander to be the first player taken in this year’s draft. When he fell to Atlanta with the fifth overall selection, Bridges admits there was plenty of excitement in the Braves’ draft room. After all, there is no such thing as too many arms.

“A big guy with that kind of stuff, we were very fortunate to get him,” Bridges said. “We have some excellent pitching in our system, but to get a young guy like this is very good.”

The Braves took a college pitcher for the third time in seven years with their first pick. Wright, meanwhile, became the 10th Vandy hurler to be taken in the first round in the past 11 drafts. Their hope is this Commodore proves to be as exceptional as several of his predecessors. Bridges believes the polished hurler has the potential to move quickly through the organization.

Undrafted out of an Alabama high school in 2014, Wright was a key component in the Vanderbilt bullpen the following spring when the Commodores won the College World Series. He then teamed with Jordan Sheffield, the Dodgers’ 2016 supplemental first-rounder, to form a solid one-two punch in the weekend rotation last year prior to putting together an impressive showing with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team.

After struggling early this spring, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Wright found his rhythm by midseason.

The son of a high school baseball coach, Wright has a sinking two-seam fastball that sits at 91-92 mph, while his four-seam 93-94 mph heater touched 99 earlier this year. He also mixes a mid-80s slider that acts like a cutter as well as an 86-87 mph changeup with plus depth and an 80-81 mph curveball.

“The main thing that impresses me about him is his presence, his athleticism and definitely his stuff,” Bridges said.

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