WASHINGTON -- As Matt Wisler produced some impressive starts for Triple-A Gwinnett in May, he began anxiously anticipating a chance to pitch for Atlanta. But after tossing eight impressive scoreless innings against the Mets in his Major League debut last week, the highly regarded Braves prospect gained a better appreciation for the chance to gain some additional seasoning at the Minor League level.
After producing a 6.75 ERA through his first four starts with Gwinnett this season, Wisler gained a better feel for the changeup he developed last year. As a result, he posted a 1.96 ERA in the seven starts he made from May 5-June 7. In the process, he showed why MLB.com ranked him as Atlanta's top pitching prospect after he was acquired in the April 5 trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to the Padres.
"There's a lot less pressure down there [in the Minors]," Wisler said. "If I'd have struggled like that up here during the first month, I probably would have been sent back down. Now that I'm up here, if I continue throwing the way I can, hopefully, I can stay up here as long as possible."
Wisler will make his second career start when the Braves conclude a three-game series against the first-place Nationals on Thursday afternoon. The 22-year-old right-hander will be attempting to extend the success he had while needing just 88 pitches to complete those eight stellar innings during Friday's debut against the Mets.
"The debut went about as well as it could have gone," Wisler said. "Since then, I have just kind of taken it all in while sitting in the dugout watching games and taking in the stadiums. It still hasn't quite hit me that I'm up here."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.