easterly

The 20 worst A-Braves pitchers: #14, Jamie Easterly

Jamie Easterly is the third pitcher from the ’77 Braves — which finished with a league-worst 4.85 ERA — to make our list, joining Don Collins and Preston Hanna. Like Collins and Hanna, Easterly was a high draft pick, selected in the 2nd round in 1971. Until Bill Lucas came along the Braves drafted terribly, helping make the 70s a lost decade for the local nine.

Easterly began his career as a starter, with 28 of his 36 career starts coming as a Brave. He was 7-16 with a 5.43 ERA and 1.629 WHIP  in those games, striking out just 98 in 182 IP. He eventually settled in the bullpen, though he was no specialist; left-handed batters hit .292 against the southpaw.

Hard to believe he lasted 13 seasons in the majors. Easterly was better, though still middling, after leaving Atlanta, pitching for Milwaukee and Cleveland. His final Braves numbers: 8-20, 5.72 ERA, 232.2 IP, 272 H, 137 BB, 127 K’s, 1.758 WHIP.

For the ’77 Bravos, Easterly was 2-4 with a 6.14 ERA but was far from the worst pitcher on the team. We’ll identify that hurler later in the list.

Don_Collins

The 20 worst A-Braves pitchers: #16 Don Collins

It says something about my Braves geekdom that I remember Don Collins, one of many terrible relievers who toiled for the ’77 Braves. Expect at least two more pitchers from that team, which finished with a league-worst 4.85 ERA, to make our list in addition to Collins and Preston Hanna, #18.

What separates him from those who won’t — Steve Hargan, Bob Johnson, Duane Theiss — is workload. Collins pitched in 40 games, starting 6. He didn’t make it past the third inning in half of those starts. In 70 IP, the soft-tossing southpaw walked 41, allowed 82 hits and struck out just 27. That’s a 1.741 WHIP.

Collins was drafted by three other teams before finally signing with Atlanta in 1972. So the Braves weren’t the only team that vastly overestimated Collins’ potential.