Baseball is back! The Atlanta Braves reported to spring training this week with many new faces once again, as we continue this rebuilding project. This off-season was once again painful, but effective in accumulating many high upside prospects that have the potential to become stars at the MLB level!
Shelby Miller Trade
The move that sent shockwaves through the baseball world was when the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Shelby Miller from the Braves. The Braves got a massive haul for Miller starting with last year’s number one draft pick Dansby Swanson the shortstop of the future. In addition, they got Aaron Blair another highly touted pitching prospect that has a chance to reach the big leagues this season.
Minors Career 5 teams 23-13 Record 3.22 ERA
Lastly, they got a quality outfielder in Ender Inciarte who will likely be the starting center fielder and the lead-off hitter I think they been looking for. Inciarte is also under team control for the next four seasons. Another great thing is he is only 25 years of age. He could be someone the team can build around along with these other young guns we have coming up through the system.
Career Stats:.292 BA .329 OBP .386 SLG 40 SB
This move was absolutely amazing from the Braves perspective because not only did they add to a flourishing pipeline, but also they were able to add a quality MLB player that can help us right away. I think this move renewed faith of many fans because although it might be a long couple of years the team has a vision and are sticking to it.
Acquiring top-tier talent that will be around for a long time hoping to make their trade partners experience buyers’ remorse down the road. Many baseball executives were shocked at how much the Braves were able to get for Miller.
That’s the type of deal you should get for José Fernandez not Shelby Miller. He is a quality pitcher and will fit well with Zach Greinke and the win-now mentality of the Arizona Diamondbacks. They just gave up way too much to get him, much to the Braves delight.
The Simmons Trade
The other big move made this off-season was a little harder for fans to accept when we traded defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons to the Angels. The Braves acquired veteran Erick Aybar as a stopgap for the team until Dansby Swanson is deemed ready. They were also able to get the Angels top two pitching prospects as well, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis the crown jewels of the deal.
Many baseball people feel the Angels overpaid because Simmons hasn’t developed on the offensive side of the ball hitting just, .256 with 31 home runs and 168 RBI’S in his four-year career. That’s what made him expendable in the Braves eyes, they’ve said all along they weren’t going to trade their best players in less they were blown away and this move was another case of that.
Newcomb is a 6’5 240 pound left-hander with an electric fastball ranging from 93-97 MPH topping out at 99 MPH. In addition to that, he has a changeup and a curveball in his arsenal, at just 22 years of age, many baseball experts say he has ace potential and could be up sometime in 2016. In his minor league career, he was 9-4 with 2.75 ERA. A guy with a ton of upside and will get a chance to impress as he was given an invite to spring training.
Ellis is a 23-year-old right-hander, I would compare them to former Brave Kris Medlen because scouts say he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but has a really good changeup and is a ground ball pitcher just like Medlen. They say he needs a little more time to develop and figure out his niche whether he should be a starter or out of the bullpen. He possibly could contribute in 2016, but more likely 2017.
Ellis doesn’t sound as polished as Newcomb, but still has great upside and could be a great asset for the Braves moving forward. He will also get an opportunity to impress the staff as he got an invite to spring training as well.
No one expects the Braves to compete in 2016, nor should we, but the team is definitely ahead of the curve since this rebuilding process began. Young talent is littered throughout this roster and we should be excited about the future. These two moves made this off-season have sped up the process and we may see some of these guys to start the 2016 season, depending on how they perform in spring training.
There’s so many unanswered questions with the Atlanta Braves it may be easier just to throw the names and a hat and pick them out than to try to predict this year’s roster! However, it will be fun to see how these young guys develop and perform as they try to prove that they belong amongst MLB’s best. Don’t kid yourself; it’s going to be a long year it’s predicted between 68 and 71 wins. A piece of advice for Braves fans everywhere patience is the key.