Matt Wisler

From BR Bullpen

Matthew Robert Wisler

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Matt Wisler was selected out of high school in the 7th round of the 2011 amateur draft by the San Diego Padres. He made his professional season that season with the AZL Padres, where he gave up four runs without retiring a single batter. He recorded his first career out the next year, when he was 5-4, 2.53 as s starter for the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League. He pitched 114 innings that year, recording 113 strikeouts. In 2013, he moved up to the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League where he was 6-1, 2.03 in 7 starts, to earn a quick promotion to the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League. Making it to AA at age 20, he was 4 1/2 years younger than the average player in the circuit, but still excelled, with a record of 8-5, 3.00 in 20 starts. Between the two stops, he was 10-6, 2.78.

Wisler continued to do well in 2014. He was back in San Antonio to start the season, but after 6 starts, in which he went 1-0, 2.10, he was promoted to the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas. There, his ERA shot up to 5.01, but this was in part of a result of pitching in the high, dry air of southwest Texas, as his record was a solid 9-5, with 101 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings. he continued to be among the youngest pitchers at his level, being 6 years younger than the average AAA player.

Wisler was one of two key prospects traded by the Padres to the Atlanta Braves on April 5, 2015, in a deal that netted them All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel; the other prospect was OF Jordan Paroubeck, while major leaguers Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin also went to Atlanta, with OF Melvin Upton headed the other way. The Padres also gave up a compensation round pick in the 2015 amateur draft in the blockbuster deal. In 12 starts for the Gwinnett Braves, he went 3-4, 4.29 to earn a call-up to Atlanta on June 19th. His major league debut was a good one, as he allowed only 1 run in 8 innings in beating Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets, 2-1. He went 8-8, 4.71 in 20 games, including 19 starts for the Braves, pitching 109 innings in what was a promising first season in the big leagues.

Matt was unable to build on his rookie season, however, as in 2016, he fell to a record of 7-13 and his ERA rose to 5.00 in 27 games. Things got worse in 2017, as he was just 0-1, 8.35 in 20 games, but only 1 start and in just 32 1/3 innings. In both 2016 and 2017 he also pitched for Gwinnett, going 7-5, 3.56 in 18 game (14 starts) the second year. In 2018, he went 4-4, 4.37 in 13 starts for the re-named Gwinnett Stripers and 1-1, 5.40 in 7 games for the Braves. On July 30th, he was one of three players sent by the Braves to the Cincinnati Reds, along with P Lucas Sims and OF Preston Tucker, to obtain OF Adam Duvall in a trade. He pitched 11 times for Cincinnati and put up an ERA of 2.03 in 13 1/3 innings. However, he failed to make the team out of spring training in 2019 and on April 1st was traded back to his original organization, the San Diego Padres, in return for minor leaguer Diomar Lopez. He went 2-2, 5.28 in 21 gamed for San Diego, then was purchased by the Seattle Mariners on July 4th. The M's gave him the ball for 8 starts out of 23 outings, but the results were still poor, as he went 1-2, 6.04.

He suddenly found his bearings during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, which he spent with the Minnesota Twins after having been picked up on waivers during the off-season. In 18 games including 4 starts, he was 0-2, but with an outstanding ERA of 1.07 in 25 1/3 innings, with 15 hits allowed against 35 strikeouts. He also picked up only the second save of his career, but did not appear in the postseason. After the season, he signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants and while the team made a completely unexpected run to a division title, he was one of the few disappointments , going 1-2, 6.05 in 21 relief outings. On June 11th, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in return for a minor leaguer and like many before him found success in the land of unusual pitcher usage. He remained strictly a reliever as the Rays somehow escaped the urge to use him as an opener (he probably had too much experience as a major league starter to be given this assignment), but in his 27 outings, went 2-3 with an ERA of 2.15 with a great strikeout rate. He also saved a game, being part of a record-setting 14 pitchers to record at least one save for Tampa that year. Overall, in 48 2/3 innings between the two teams, he allowed just 41 hits and 11 walks, and struck out 62 batters, for an ERA of 3.70 - which are pretty impressive numbers for someone whose ERA was above 6.00 in his first 20+ outings. He appeared in the postseason for the first time that season, giving up 2 runs in 2 1/3 innings in two appearances in the Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.

He was back with Tampa in 2022 and this time was used as an opener, getting the nod as the starter against the Chicago Cubs on April 19th. he had a memorable appearance in his next game, against the Red Sox on April 23rd: he came in in the top of the 10th as the Rays' seventh pitcher of the day, with the game not only scoreless, but Boston still looking for its first hit. The potential no-hitter was quickly broken up as he gave up a triple to the first batter he faced, Bobby Dalbec, which also scored the designated runner, Jackie Bradley Jr., then allowed a sacrifice fly to Christian Vazquez for a 2-0 Boston lead. It looked like he would be charged with his first loss of the year, especially as the first two Rays batters against Hansel Robles in the bottom of the 10th both struck out, but the rays then mounted an improbable comeback on a balk, a throwing error by 2B Trevor Story, a stolen base, and finally a two-run, walk-off homer by Kevin Kiermaier, so he ended up receiving credit for the 3-2 win. On July 8th, he was the one committing a balk in a critical situation, when home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso called him for one in the bottom of the 10th inning in a game against the Cincinnati Reds, with Mark Kolozsvary representing the winning run on third base. It was the 23rd "walk-off balk" recorded in major league history and the first since Dylan Floro in 2018.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Bowman: "Wisler eager to learn from Glavine: Young righty, Hall of Famer to continue work on changeup",, February 4, 2016. [1]

Related Sites[edit]