Its no secret that the Braves have really focused on pitching during the last couple of seasons during this grand rebuilding of the farm system. Most of the Braves’ early round picks over the last couple of drafts have been devoted to that end with names such as Ian Anderson, Kolby Allard, Joey Wentz, Mike Soroka, and Kyle Muller headlining that effort. However, the Braves’ strategy extends beyond just the first couple of rounds of the draft as the Braves look to fill out their rotation for years to come.
The Braves took hard throwing right hander Bryse Wilson in the 4th round (109th overall) in this summer’s draft. A high schooler out of North Carolina armed with a 96 mph fastball he was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. While there he was nothing short of dominant posting a 0.68 ERA, a 0.916 WHIP and struck out 29 batters in his 26.2 innings while only walking 8. He only gave up 2 extra base hits in GCL play, both doubles, one of them by the #1 pick in the 2016 draft Mickey Moniak. He’s currently down in Kissimmee with several other top Braves prospects at Instructional League and he took some of his time to answer some of my questions.
First of all Bryse thank you for doing this interview, I know you are currently busy down in Orlando at Instructional League. How has that been with all the other guys?
I have enjoyed being down in instructional league. It is a great opportunity to meet and hang out with all of the other great players in the organization as well as learn from them.
Have you gotten a chance to talk to any of the older guys like Lucas Sims or Sean Newcomb who have been in the system for a couple of years for advice?
I have talked to them some and they have talked to the group of pitchers a bit and the biggest thing I have learned is to not try and do too much and just stick to what you do best.
You're from North Carolina right in the heart of Braves Country, were you a Braves fan growing up?
Yes I was a Braves fan growing up. They were the hometown team and family members of mine were big fans of them as well.
You threw a 71 pitch perfect game in High School was that the highlight of your prep career?
I would say so yes. That was a very good game and a game that I'll remember for the rest of my career.
Coming out of the draft you had a fastball that runs up to 96 mph and a slurve breaking ball. Have the Braves worked with you at all on adjusting your delivery or developing a 3rd pitch?
They have worked with me quite a bit on my change up and also on my 2 seam/sinker. They have kept my delivery the same, but wanted to focus mostly on my changeup development.
What is the biggest mechanical adjustment you have made since becoming a professional and why did you decide to make that change?
The biggest mechanical change I have made is keeping my arm slot the same on all of my pitches. I sometimes tended to drop my arm on my 2 seam but I have been better about keeping that the same.
Is there anything in particular you are looking to improve on at instructionals and heading into next year?
The biggest thing that I am looking to improve at instructionals is my change up for sure. I didn't really use it much in high school so it is a rarely new pitch to me.
3-2 count with the game on the line, what's your go to pitch?
My go to pitch in that count is a 4 seam fastball on the outer third of the plate.
I know you had a scholarship offer for North Carolina before the draft...was that for baseball and/or football? Was it hard saying goodbye to football or are you a pitcher at heart?
My scholarship to UNC was for just baseball. As far as letting go of football it wasn't too bad because I knew that I had a better future in baseball.
You played WR, QB and LB in high school. What was your favorite position to play in football?
My favorite position in football was LB because it allowed me to be the most aggressive.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time outside of baseball?
I enjoy playing golf, fishing, and when I go home I like to hunt as well.
A lot of Braves fans are very excited about you, especially our readers here at Talking Chop. Is there anything you want to say to them?
I just want to think everybody for their support and thank the Braves organization for this great opportunity.