Jacksonville Jaguars

Baseball dismissed Leo Mazzone and Johnny Sain — the Hall of Fame doesn’t have to

Sometime after the Braves hired Leo Mazzone in 1979 to be a pitching coach within their organization, he went to see Johnny Sain.

Sain won 20 games four times for the Boston Braves between 1946 and 1950, helping lead the team to the 1948 World Series. Later, Sain embarked on a successful second career as a pitching coach. So many of the best pitchers of the 1960s crossed paths with Sain, from Whitey Ford to Jim Kaat to Denny McLain.

Partially because his track record of wins and losses is pretty solid (three first-place finishes, two second-place finishes in his five full seasons), but also because Matheny checks so many of the boxes that owner Bill DeWitt Jr., believes are so very important to the well-being of the franchise as a whole.

Still …

This past road trip was a disaster, by any interpretation. And this season has been an up-and-down roller coaster nobody expected, swings of awful baseball and awesome baseball.

With a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a hard, upper-80s slider, scouts are split on whether Bukauskas will remain a starter at the next level or make a move toward the bullpen, likely in a closer role.

Whether he is taking the ball at the beginning of games or at the end, he has a very good chance to climb to the majors very quickly. Much like Wright, Bukauskas competed in a very tough conference for the past three years, giving scouts a good idea of where he will stack up against professional hitters.

If he remains a starter, look for the Ashburn, Va., native to spend a couple seasons in the minors and make his major league debut in either late 2019 or 2020. However, if the team that selects him makes him a closer immediately, his path to the top could be much shorter, with him getting the call up next summer.

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