So, what is his deal? Is he a flake, or is the ability he occasionally flashes an illusion? Acosta throws as hard as anyone on the staff, is not a one-pitch pitcher either, and yet he goes through periods where he can’t get anyone out. It’s very frustrating. Last season, he managed to get his strikeouts up to 7.7 per nine, which isn’t as good as it should be but is getting there, and didn’t have any corresponding loss of control. And yet, his overall results were at best mediocre, as he allowed 10.8 hits per nine, which makes no sense whatsoever for a hard-throwing reliever. The average batter hit .30/.386/.460 against Acosta last season; the OPS is actually higher than any Braves regular’s.
As an added benefit, Acosta continued to do his worst pitching in pressure situations. He was pretty good when the pressure was off, but in high and even medium-leverage situations he was a catastrophe. Eventually, the Braves will cut him loose, but I expect he will make the ballclub. Maybe he’ll turn it around.