The debut of rookie pitchers in their early 20's is something of a second half routine for the Atlanta Braves. Arodys Vizcaino may be one of the youngest Braves pitchers to make his debut in the Atlanta pen in the past 20 years, but he is just the latest in a long line of promising prospects to help the team down the stretch.
Twenty years ago another great young Braves pitcher made his debut in the middle of August. Mark Wohlers entered the Show on August 17th, 1991, with the tying run on third base in a one-run game with two outs in the ninth inning, and struck out Tim Teufel for his first Major League save. Wohlers was 21 and already had a well established track record of being a successful minor league closer.
Jason Schmidt and Terrell Wade, both 22 in 1995, helped out of the pen. At the age of 22, Kevin Millwood picked up the win in relief during his first Major League mound appearance in mid-July, 1997. Odalis Perez collected a hold on September 1st, 1998, in his first Major League appearance as a 20-year-old. Jason Marquis tossed a scoreless inning at the age of 21 in his first appearance in early June of 2000.
Twenty-one year old Tim Spooneybarger looked to have a promising relief career when he debuted in September of 2001. Joey Devine was 21, and barely two months out of college when he entered a game on August 20th, 2005. Of course, we all know that he promptly coughed up a grand slam.
There is a rich history of talented young pitchers ascending to the Majors in the second half of the season to help the Braves drive towards the postseason -- many more than I listed. Surely the debut of Arodys Vizcaino will be one that is watched with the utmost anticipation, as he could be as good as any of these pitchers who came before him.