According to a report from the Gwinnett Braves Broadcaster and WSB Radio Sports Director Tony Schiavone, Atlanta Braves
relief pitcher Scott Proctor has finally been released. The club has also promoted another one of their top pitching prospects, and one of the Four Horsemen of the Pitchocalypse, reliever Arodys Vizcaino. This is a great day for the Atlanta bullpen, and the blood pressure of Braves fans everywhere!
Proctor was once a promising veteran reliever, but he lost his spot on the opening day roster by having a horrible Spring Training. He seemed to rebound during the first part of the season in triple-A, but those good numbers did not carry over to the Major Leagues. With Atlanta this season Proctor has compiled a 6.44 ERA with 31 hits and 19 walks in 29.1 innings pitched, while only striking out 18. In just about every way he's been terrible.
The only bright spot in his season, and a spot that probably bought him another two weeks on the roster, was his three inning shutout performance in the 19 inning game against the Pirates on July 26th, in which he picked up the win and the game winning RBI (When Lugo Slid!).
Arodys Vizcaino is a pitcher that many dedicated Braves fans have been waiting to see on the Major League roster. He was spectacular in Spring Training, with many folks speculating that he could have held down a Major League relief role at that time, with his mid-to-high-90s fastball. His best pitch may be a hammer curve, and his changeup has improved dramatically this year to the point where he may have three plus pitches. The Braves started him out a high-A Lynchburg, but promoted him first to Mississippi, and then to Gwinnett. It was in Mississippi where he was converted from a starter to a relief role in anticipation of helping the Big League club down the stretch.
I equate this kid and his arrival and potential impact in the bullpen to the impact that Francisco Rodriguez had on the 2002 Angels team. Like K-Rod, Vizzy is a hard thrower with potentially dominant stuff, and will be making his Major League debut as a 20-year-old. He has appeared in only six games in relief at Gwinnett, but the Braves apparently have seen enough to think he's ready for the show. I concur.
It's not an understatement to say that Vizcaino could be better than any relief pitcher the Braves could acquire on the trade market. With Atlanta having missed out on acquiring a reliever at last month's trade deadline, this promotion could have the same impact. The Braves may have been hesitant to surrender any prospects for a reliever at the deadline knowing that Vizcaino would soon be able to help them in the Atlanta bullpen.
The Braves also promoted another promising relief pitcher, J.J. Hoover, from their double-A team to triple-A. As a reliever, Hoover has posted a 1.33 ERA in 19 games, holding opposing batters to a .186 average. He could also help the team in the bullpen down the stretch.