Arodys Vizcaino was awarded the Braves' closer role over Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli to begin the 2016 season. The hard-throwing righty got off to a solid start and put together a productive first half of the season before ultimately struggling in the second half, largely due to multiple nagging injuries that landed him on the disabled list. He finished the season with a 4.42 ERA, but much of that can be attributed to his brief, disastrous return from the DL in mid-August. Prior to his first DL stint on July 16, the 26-year-old posted a 3.00 ERA with 10 saves and a 47:22 K:BB over 36 innings. Walks have always been an issue for Vizcaino and he will need to improve his command in order to become a truly reliable reliever. The Braves will likely enter 2017 with Jim Johnson as their closer, leaving Vizcaino to battle it out with Mauricio Cabrera for the team's top setup role.
Vizcaino allowed a double and back-to-back home runs without recording an out during the eighth inning of Sunday's loss to Philadelphia. The poor outing saddled Vizcaino with his first loss of the season and upped his ERA to 5.00. He features an impressive pitch arsenal and has struck out 61 batters over his last 47.2 innings dating back to last season. However, his 4.53 ERA and 1.57 WHIP during that stretch have stifled the value of those whiffs.
Vizcaino struck out two in a perfect eighth inning Tuesday to get credit for the win in a 5-4 victory over the Marlins. Remarkably, the strikeouts were his first of the year in four appearances, but otherwise Vizcaino has looked sharp so far in 2017 and has yet to allow a run. Should the Braves' closer spot open up at some point, the 26-year-old would likely get yet another chance at ninth-inning duty after recording 19 saves over the last two seasons.
Vizcaino allowed one hit in a scoreless eighth inning during a 5-4 loss to the Pirates on Friday. The Braves bullpen has had a brutal start to the season, but Vizcaino has been one of the few bright spots. The 26-year-old has yet to record a strikeout in two innings of work, but his 97 mph fastball is jumping and he should continue to be used in whatever high-leverage situations the team can muster.
Vizcaino struck out two in a perfect inning of work during Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals. The 26-year-old has been impressive this spring, posting a 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 10:2 K:BB through seven innings -- but most importantly, he's been healthy. Vizcaino will open the season setting up Jim Johnson, making him a safe bet for fantasy value in leagues that reward holds, but if the veteran gets dealt over the summer, Vizcaino could find himself back in the closer role.
Vizcaino hit 98 mph with his fastball while striking out two in an inning of work during Friday's Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. He did give up a solo home run to Andrew Benintendi, but otherwise it's been a great start to the spring for Vizcaino, who's whiffed five batters in his first two appearances. The shoulder injury that derailed his second half last year doesn't appear to be an issue for him heading into 2017, and Vizcaino should begin the season as the Braves' primary setup man.
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