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Braves' Kyle Wright Becomes MLB's 1st 20-Game Winner After Going Winless Last Season

Adam WellsSeptember 25, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Kyle Wright #30 of the Atlanta Braves pitches during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 24, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves starter Kyle Wright added another milestone to his outstanding 2022 season on Saturday.

The right-hander became the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to win 20 games this season after allowing two earned runs in 5.1 innings in the Braves' 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Wright entered this season with two career wins (both in 2020) in 21 appearances, including an 0-1 mark with a 9.95 ERA in two starts last year.

"I don't know if I realized how cool it was until my teammates and coaches congratulated me real quick afterward," Wright told reporters after the game. "It's a team stat, and I couldn't have done it without them scoring runs and playing defense."

The 26-year-old's success is yet another illustration of Atlanta's player development that has been so good in recent years.

Wright was the No. 5 overall pick by the Braves in the 2017 draft. He made his big-league debut the following year, posting a 4.50 ERA in four relief appearances.

Atlanta put Wright in the starting rotation to begin the 2019 season. He struggled out of the gate and was optioned to Triple-A after allowing six runs in 3.2 innings in his third start vs. the New York Mets. He finished with an 8.69 ERA in seven games.

During the 2020 season that was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wright did spend the entire year in the big leagues. He had a 5.21 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in eight starts.

Despite his struggles in 2021, Braves manager Brian Snitker showed tremendous faith in Wright by using him in relief in Game 6 of the World Series. He took over for Dylan Lee in the top of the first inning and allowed one run in 4.2 innings against the Houston Astros.

Atlanta went on to win the game 3-2 to clinch its first World Series title since 1995.

Now, in his second full season, Wright has already blown by his career-highs in games started (29), innings (175.1) and strikeouts (171). The Vanderbilt alum is the second National League pitcher to win 20 games in a season since 2017 (Julio Urias, 2021).

The last time Atlanta had a 20-game winner was Russ Ortiz in 2003.

Wright's win also helped the Braves get within 1.5 games of the New York Mets atop the NL East. Both teams have already clinched a playoff spot, but the division winner will likely be able to avoid playing in the wild-card round.

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