I repent. He was originally not on this list, but Alex Remington has shown me my erroneous ways. Jonny Venters belongs on this list.
First off, Venters is going on his 5th season with Atlanta as of this writing. And being only 34, he could conceivably spend more seasons in Atlanta, though he will be a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. We shall see.
And in those 4 seasons, he’s thrown 250 innings for Atlanta, dominating to a 2.34 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, and striking out over a batter an inning (9.9 K/9). And with his devastating sinker and with his career 78% strand rate and 68.5% groundball rate, he’s the guy you want to bring in when you need a double play ball. He’s also death to lefties: they’ve only hit .176/.277/241. But he’s not just a LOOGY; he’s faced twice as many righties, and they’ve only mustered a .619 OPS against him.
He’s also a symbol of perseverance. He’s had, as he puts it, “3 1/2” Tommy John surgeries, and did not pitch between 2012 and 2018. For that reason, he’s an incredible guy to cheer for. Not knowing what exactly we were getting, there was still a sense of excitement when the Braves traded for him near the 2018 trade deadline.
If he’s healthy — of course, a big “if” with him — he’ll have another great season with Atlanta in 2019, but he’s one of the 44 Greatest Braves already.