Kyle Muller Nears His First Callup
The Braves added hard-throwing lefthander Kyle Muller to their 40-man roster, and if he improves his command it’s possible the 23-year-old becomes the team’s next heralded prospect to make his big league debut in 2021.
Muller, a Dallas native, has generated buzz over the past few seasons. Physically, it’s easy to see why. He’s listed at 6-foot-7, 250 pounds and throws in the mid-to-upper 90s. His fastball and curveball grade out as the best in the Braves’ system.
The Braves drafted Muller in the second round in 2016 out of Dallas Jesuit College Prep. Muller is generally considered the organization’s No. 2 pitching prospect behind Ian Anderson, who went third overall in the same draft.
Muller will likely open the season at Triple-A. Before spending the shortened 2020 campaign at the Braves’ alternate training site, he pitched a full season at Double-A Mississippi in 2019. Muller struck out 120 hitters, walked 68 and held opponents to a .208 average in 22 starts and 111.2 innings.
Those numbers tell his minor league story. Excitement over the gaudy strikeout numbers is quelled by Muller’s ballooning walk rate. He also threw 16 wild pitches and hit seven batters in 2019.
His feast-or-famine results were on full display during two brief spring training appearances in March: Muller walked three, struck out three, hit two batters and threw a wild pitch while recording three outs.
Some believe Muller might end up a reliever, be it earlier in his career or as a permanent transition. His control will determine that, and while he still has a long way to go, it’s tantalizing to think about what Muller could become if everything clicks. His monstrous mound presence and physical tools alone make him one of the most interesting pitchers in the minors.
Muller’s prime could fall nearly anywhere on the spectrum. He could conceivably be an erratic reliever, a valuable high-leverage lefty reliever, a No. 4-type starter or—in the best-case scenario—a high-end strikeout artist.
— The Braves’ recent success under general manager Alex Anthopoulos—three consecutive National League East division titles and an NL Championship Series appearance—led the Angels to pluck from Atlanta's office. The Angels hired former Braves assistant GM Perry Minasian as their GM in mid November. A week later, Minasian hired three Braves executives to his new office, including assistant GM Alex Tamin, special assistant Dom Chiti and scout Rick Williams.
— Outfielder Cristian Pache, the Braves’ top prospect, should be penciled into center field for Opening Day 2021 after impressing during the postseason. Anderson, the club’s top pitching prospect, will be in the rotation. Switch-hitting outfielder Drew Waters and Muller will be the next prospects up, headlining a system that, after producing a group of foundational stars in recent years, is trying to replenish its high-end talent and depth.