After making quick work of the minors, Wood could make a smooth transition to the Braves bullpen, but his fantasy value depends heavily on the type of league you play in.
The Situation: With lefty relievers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty both lost for the season to Tommy John surgery, the Braves are in need of bullpen arms. They’ve purchased Wood’s contract from Double-A Mississippi, adding the 22-year-old southpaw to the big-league bullpen for Thursday night’s game against Toronto.
Background: Atlanta’s second-round pick in last year’s draft, Wood was selected following a three-year career at the University of Georgia. He underwent Tommy John surgery as a freshman in 2010, but hasn’t had an injury hiccup since. Entering pro ball last summer with a mature fastball-changeup combination, Wood cruised through 13 starts in the Low-A South Atlantic League, posting a 2.22 ERA. He impressed during five relief appearances in big-league camp this spring and earned an assignment to Double-A Mississippi. The prospect continued his dominance with the M-Braves, allowing only eight earned runs on 41 hits in 57 innings, walking 15 and fanning 57.
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Jonny Venters undergoes Tommy John surgery for the second time. Who's to blame?
In The Song of the Lark Willa Cather wrote, "People live through such pain only once; pain comes again, but it finds a tougher surface." Though Cather meant something else, the thought lends itself to physical pain; hence our cliches about broken bones mending sturdier, and reconstructed elbows healing stronger. Unfortunately, Mother Nature trumps tougher surfaces, which explains why Jonny Venters underwent his second Tommy John surgery last Thursday.
The operation comes as a last resort. In April Venters received a platelet-rich plasma injection—a relatively new, painful procedure—along with instruction to rest for a few weeks. When Venters resumed throwing his elbow resumed hurting, necessitating further action. Typically a full recovery takes about 12 months with a high success rate. But the odds diminish with subsequent surgeries. As Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explained: "Though the sample size is smaller, estimations range from 10 to 25 percent of those pitchers returning to be effective major leaguers."
Glen Perkins and Greg Holland make their VP bid this week.
I had such high hopes for Pirates swing man Brad Lincoln (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 2%, CBS 9%), but his past three outings have been starts, and the results have been ugly: 11 2/3 innings, 13 earned runs, 10 strikeouts, 23 hits (!), and four walks. It’s time for the Bucs to mercy-kill this experiment and return Lincoln to his rightful place as their long reliever. He’ll serve the team—and fantasy owners—far better in that role.
Bryce Harper, at 19, has faced four of the best strikeout pitchers in history. Here's how he has done.
I was lying on the floor Saturday, throwing a pen up in the air and catching it, and wondering when Bryce Harper would face Clayton Kershaw so I could watch it. Typical Saturday stuff. And it occurred to me: Kershaw? Who cares about Kershaw? He’s the best pitcher in the National League, sure, but Kershaw over seven innings isn’t nearly as dominant as the most dominant relievers are in just one inning. Even without facing Kershaw, Bryce Harper has faced almost-impossible pitching in the majors. The five pitchers Harper has faced with the highest strikeout rates this year:
Every bloop, bleeder, and swinging bunt that has contributed toward the Braves setup man's .458 BABIP in 2012.
A few days ago, I got an email from someone who wanted to know why Jonny Venters isn’t dominating people like he did last year. He speculated that there’s something wrong with his stuff, or that his mechanics might be off.
I started formulating an answer even before I looked at the numbers. Well, it’s too small a sample to draw conclusions. Well, Venters was so good in 2011 that it’s unfair to expect a repeat performance. Well, he led the league in appearances last year, so maybe he’s feeling some fatigue.
Braves reliever Jonny Venters is having a set-up season for the ages.
Jonny Venters has enjoyed a stunningly successful start to his career, but the southpaw hasn’t let it go to his head. Venters resembles a character from a 1930s children's sports book, the unassuming hero who becomes a star pitcher and is too modest to acknowledge his success.