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Post-hype prospect to watch: Matt Wisler, P, Cincinnati Reds

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Third team’s the charm?

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

In 2016, Matt Wisler’s second career MLB season, he started 26 games and pitched 156.2 innings for the Atlanta Braves. That followed 109 innings in his rookie season.

Over both 2017 and 2018, he threw just 72.1 innings. In that time, he moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen for Atlanta’s Triple-A Gwinnett and was traded for the second time to his home state of Ohio, joining the Cincinnati Reds.

A seventh-round pick in 2011, he was first traded from the San Diego Padres to the Braves in 2015, headlining the package for closer Craig Kimbrel.

All but MLB ready, his Major League debut came two months after the trade in June. He was decent at best in his first two seasons as a Brave and has never found his groove at the big league level. His career numbers are a tad unsightly, to say the least.

His career ERA is over 5.00 and he’s never translated his emerging prospect status prior to the first trade into productive MLB play. He pitches to contact without a power, modern-day fastball and has become quite hittable at the top level.

Until the second trade last season. After going from the Braves to the Reds, he performed well in Cincy’s bullpen after being part of a trade deadline package for Adam Duvall.

Prior to the trade, his struggles in Atlanta continued to the tune of a 5.40 ERA in 26.2 MLB innings. His woes bled a bit into his Gwinnett numbers, as well, with an ERA of 4.37 there in 13 starts. Not bad by most measures, but a step down from a 2017 3.56 ERA and not preferred numbers from a pitcher vying for a return to the grandes ligas.

After the trade to Cincinnati, the Reds made eight of his 10 outings at Triple-A Louisville relief appearances. He performed well and was promoted to his third MLB roster. There, he had a 2.03 ERA in 11 showings out of the bullpen in 13.1 innings.

Heading into 2019, the Reds have a lot of young arms to sort out. Hopefully the 26-year old Wisler has found his niche in the bullpen.