The Stripers made a rather easy decision on Tuesday afternoon, leading up to its 2022 season-opener versus Memphis – the team is giving the opening day start to left-handed prospect Kyle Muller.
Ranked as the top Braves prospect in my Braves 2022 Offseason Top 35, the 24-year-old Muller is coming off perhaps the best year of his pro career in 2021, in which he filled in admirably in Atlanta’s starting rotation, going on to post a 4.17 ERA in 36 2/3 innings worth of work. With the Braves starting staff dealing with ineffectiveness and injuries during the month of June last season, Muller was mostly a consistent contributor, and on June 27 the southpaw went out and tossed a gem when he struck out nine batters in a Braves shutout over the Reds. In the best outing of his short MLB career, Muller pitched around just one hit and walked two in the five-inning outing, suggesting that he’s finally ready for a regular spot in the Atlanta rotation.
However, with so many options this spring, including fellow prospect lefty Tucker Davidson, newcomer Spencer Strider and Braves returnee Huascar Ynoa, Muller was never really much of a candidate to open the 2022 season as a big league starter. From what most can gather, the decision to keep Muller in Triple-A (at least for now) is to allow the young pitcher to acquire innings, for he’ll certainly need to be ready in the event the Braves come calling.
Last year Muller didn’t just pitch well for the big league team – he was also a valuable contributor for the Stripers, where he posted a 3.39 ERA in 17 starts with the Triple-A affiliate (his first year at the top level of the minors). With Muller seemingly on his way to soon cracking the majors again, it’s likely he’ll be the leading arm for Gwinnett’s starting staff in 2022, where he’ll also be accompanied by another Braves prospect, righty Bryce Elder.
Gwinnett will open its 2022 season tonight against the Memphis Redbirds, with first pitch set for 7:05 PM (ET). Minutes ago the Stripers released its opening day starting lineup…