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Wright excels in first taste of big league camp

Mix of discipline and baseball IQ have coaches raving about Braves No. 2 prospect
MLB.com @mlbbowman

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Less than a year removed from pitching at Vanderbilt University, Kyle Wright made a good first impression during his first big league camp. But the right-hander, who was taken with the fifth overall selection in this past year's MLB Draft, will spend the remainder of Spring Training in Minor League camp.

Wright was reassigned before the Braves claimed a 5-2 win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex. Right-handed relievers Jason Hursh and Akeel Morris were also optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Players on the 40-man roster are optioned, and those that are not are reassigned when their time in big league camp concludes.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Less than a year removed from pitching at Vanderbilt University, Kyle Wright made a good first impression during his first big league camp. But the right-hander, who was taken with the fifth overall selection in this past year's MLB Draft, will spend the remainder of Spring Training in Minor League camp.

Wright was reassigned before the Braves claimed a 5-2 win over the Marlins on Sunday afternoon at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex. Right-handed relievers Jason Hursh and Akeel Morris were also optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Players on the 40-man roster are optioned, and those that are not are reassigned when their time in big league camp concludes.

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"[Wright] made unbelievable first impressions," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's a very impressive young man, the way he carries himself, and the way he goes about his work."

Armed with an above-average fastball that seems to have that same rising effect Craig Kimbrel has been able to create, Wright spent the past couple weeks showing why he was widely considered the best right-handed pitching prospect available in the past summer's Draft. His discipline and advanced pitching IQ also led some Braves officials to liken him to the cerebral Mike Soroka.

MLB Pipeline ranks Wright as the Braves' No. 2 prospect and the No. 30 overall prospect. Soroka ranks third in the team rankings and 31st overall.

Wright got a taste of the professional level last summer when the Braves limited him to two innings or fewer in each of the nine starts he combined to make for the Gulf Coast League team and Class A Advanced Florida.

Having made just one start per week at Vanderbilt, Wright will continue to acquaint himself to the schedule of a five-man rotation when he begins the upcoming season with Florida or Double-A Mississippi.

"He handled himself really well here in the camp," Snitker said. "It's all about that five-day program for him. He hasn't experienced that a lot. It's all about indoctrinating himself into the pro game. You look at this kid, and he's going to come fast because he gets it. He's a very intelligent, and mature young man."

Efficient Folty
With starting pitchers still limited to just a few innings, and hitters still attempting to regain a sound feel for the speed of the game, it's too early to make any projections based on what has been seen in games. But the Braves have been encouraged by what they've seen from Mike Foltynewicz, who surrendered one hit, and faced one more than the minimum over three innings in Sunday's win.

Displaying the quieter windup and delivery he refined over the winter, Foltynewicz surrendered a two-out single on a slider to Starlin Castro in the first inning, and then retired each of the final seven batters faced. He has not allowed a run through the five innings he's totaled through his first two Grapefruit League starts.

Video: MIA@ATL: Foltynewicz on his three shutout innings

"I'm very excited, if you can't tell," Foltynewicz said. "The confidence is there. You just don't look back. This is going to be a big year for the Braves, not only for myself, but for the whole team."

Foltynewicz's primary focus during Sunday's start was fastball location, and getting a better feel for the more controlled approach he's aiming to utilize this year. The 26-year-old right-hander has continued to acknowledge he has too often allowed his emotions to influence the speed of his delivery, which consequently has led to inconsistent command.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

While Foltynewicz has the capability to consistently throw fastballs clocked in the upper 90s, he says he has come to understand he might be more effective if he consistently hits his target with heaters that sit around 93-94 mph.

Acuna continues to rake
Five days later, there's even more reason to be impressed with the prophetic words of Braves third-base coach Ron Washington, when he said it looked like Ronald Acuna was relaxed and ready to start heating up.

Since Washington made this statement while casually watching batting practice, Acuna has gone 8-for-12 with a home run. The 20-year-old phenom, who ranks as MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect, recorded just one hit in his first 11 at-bats of spring.

Acuna recorded a single in Sunday's win, and also ranged far into left-center to snare Marlins leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas' sinking liner in the first inning.

Roster battle
Rule 5 Draft pick Anyelo Gomez surrendered a leadoff homer to Bryan Holaday, and then retired the next three Marlins he faced to complete his one-inning appearance on Sunday. The solo shot accounts for the only run Gomez has allowed during his bid to open the season in Atlanta's bullpen.

"He's really interesting," Snitker said. "I love his stuff, and I love the way he gets after it. As he gets stretched out, and we get him facing more top-of-the-order guys, we'll get a good read on him."

Injury report 
Backup catcher Chris Stewart tested his strained left groin as he ran in the outfield grass Sunday morning. Stewart tweaked his groin while attempting to stretch a single into a double during Tuesday's game against the Pirates. The Braves remain hopeful the veteran catcher, who was signed to provide organizational depth, could resume playing in games later this week.

Up next
Brandon McCarthy will make his second start of the spring when the Braves host the Pirates on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET. McCarthy tossed three scoreless innings during Wednesday's loss to the Mets. Listen to the game on Gameday Audio.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Kyle Wright