Atlanta Braves – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-09-19T04:38:57Z WordPress Jason Martinez <![CDATA[The Top Minor League Performers Of 2018]]> 2018-09-19T01:00:00Z 2018-09-18T23:15:05Z Over at Roster Resource, I rank Minor Leaguers throughout the regular season using a formula that takes into account several statistics with age and level serving as important factors in how they are weighed. These are not prospect rankings!

This is how it works:

  • Hitters are mostly rated by total hits, outs, extra-base hits, walks, strikeouts and stolen bases.
  • Pitchers are mostly rated by strikeouts, walks, earned runs, home runs and hits allowed per inning.
  • A few counting stats are included (IP, plate appearances, runs, RBI) to ensure that the players atop the list played a majority of the season.
  • The younger the player and the higher the level, the more weight each category is given. Therefore, a 19-year-old with an identical stat line as a 25-year-old at the same level will be ranked much higher. If a 23-year-old in Triple-A puts up an identical stat line as a 23-year-old in High-A, the player in Triple-A would be ranked much higher.

A player’s potential does not factor in to where they are ranked. If you’re wondering why a certain prospect who is rated highly by experts isn’t on the list, it’s likely because they missed time due to injury (see Victor Robles or Nick Senzel), MLB promotion (Juan Soto) or just weren’t productive enough. While there are plenty of recognizable names throughout the MiLB Power Rankings Top 200 list, it’s also full of players who were relatively unknown prior to the season and have seen their stock rise significantly due to their performance. Here’s a closer look at the Top 20.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

Guerrero probably deserved to start his MLB career sometime between the debuts of NL Rookie of the Year candidates Ronald Acuña Jr. (April 25th) and Juan Soto (May 20th). All things being equal, that would’ve been the case.

But his call-up was delayed, mostly because third baseman Josh Donaldson was healthy in May and designated hitter Kendrys Morales was being given every opportunity to break out of an early season slump. As Guerrero’s path to regular playing time was becoming clearer, he suffered a knee injury in early June that kept him out of action for a month. When he returned, the Jays’ playoff chances had dwindled. Instead of adding him to the 40-man roster and starting his service time clock, they chose to delay his MLB debut until 2019.

You can hate the rule, but I’m certain Jays fans would rather have Guerrero under team control in 2025 as opposed to having him on the team for a few meaningless months in 2018 and headed for free agency after the 2024 season. And maybe it’s just me, but I kind of enjoy seeing what kind of numbers a player can put up when he’s way too good for his competition. And all this 19-year-old kid did was slash .381/.437/.636 with 20 HR, 29 2B, 37 BB, 38 K in 408 plate appearances, mostly between Triple-A and Double-A (he had 14 PAs during a rehab stint in the low minors).  Thanks for providing us with that beautiful stat line, Vlad Jr.

2. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros Astros Depth Chart

Despite a slow start—he had 21 hits in his first 83 Triple-A at-bats with one homer and 20 strikeouts— the 21-year-old Tucker showed why the World Champions were willing to give him a chance to take their starting left field job and run with it in July.

Tucker wasn’t quite ready for the Big Leagues—he was 8-for-52 in two separate MLB stints prior to a recent third call-up—but his stock hasn’t dropped one bit after slashing .332/.400/.590 with 24 homers, 27 doubles and 20 stolen bases over 465 plate appearances in his first season at the Triple-A level.

3. Luis Rengifo, SS, Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

A 21-year-old shortstop just finished a Minor League season with 50 extra-base hits (7 HR, 30 2B, 13 3B), 41 stolen bases, as many walks as strikeouts (75 of each) and a .299/.399/.452 slash line. If the name Luis Rengifo doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably not alone. He kind of came out of nowhere.

The Mariners traded him to the Rays last August in a deal for Mike Marjama and Ryan Garton. Nine months later, the Rays shipped him to the Angels as the PTBNL in the deal for C.J. Cron. Based on those two trades, I can say without hesitation that the Mariners and Rays did not think Rengifo was this good. Not even close.

4. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

Lowe’s breakout season mirrors Juan Soto’s in one way: They both posted an OPS above 1.000 at two different levels before a promotion to a third. Soto’s third stop was in Double-A, and it was a very short stint before heading to the Majors. After destroying High-A and Double-A pitching, Lowe’s final stop of 2018 was Triple-A, where he finally cooled off.

Still, the 23-year-old has put himself squarely on the Rays’ radar. After homering just 11 times in his first 757 plate appearances, all in the low minors, Lowe broke out with 27 homers and 32 doubles in 555 plate appearances in 2018. His overall .330/.416/.568 slash was exceptional.

5. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Minnesota Twins | Twins Depth Chart

We’re four seasons into the Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano era—both debuted during the 2015 season—and we can’t say for certain whether either player will even be penciled into the regular lineup in 2019. They could be still turn out to be perennial All-Stars someday. But you can’t blame Twins fans if they temper their expectations for the next great hitting star to come up through their farm system. And yet, that might be difficult with Kirilloff, a first-round draft pick in ’16, and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Royce Lewis, after the year each of them just had. Both are moving up the ladder quickly.

The 20-year-old Kirilloff, who missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, was a hitting machine in his first full professional season. After slashing .333/.391/.607 with 13 homers in 65 games with Low-A Cedar Rapids, he hit .362 with seven homers and 24 doubles in 65 games with High-A Fort Myers. He also had 11 hits in the playoffs, including a 5-hit performance on September 5th.

6. Bo Bichette, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

All Bichette did during his age-20 season was hit 43 doubles and steal 32 bases while manning shortstop for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the 2018 Eastern League Champions. It’s unlikely that he’ll join Vlad Jr. in the Majors early next season, but he might not be too far behind.

7. Peter Alonso, 1B, New York Mets Mets Depth Chart

Alonso’s monster season (.975 OPS, 36 HR, 31 2B, 119 RBI between AAA/AA) ended in disappointment when he was passed over for a September promotion. As was the case with Vlad Jr., it didn’t make much sense to start his service time clock and fill a valuable 40-man spot during the offseason—neither Guerrero or Alonso have to be protected from the next Rule 5 draft—while the team is playing meaningless games. The 23-year-old Alonso did establish, however, that he is the Mets’ first baseman of the very near future, and they’ll plan accordingly during the upcoming offseason.

8. Touki Toussaint, SP, Atlanta Braves Braves Depth Chart

As tough as it will be to crack the Braves’ rotation in the coming years, the 22-year-old Toussaint has put himself in position to play a significant role in 2019 after posting a 2.38 ERA and 10.8 K/9 in 24 starts between Triple-A and Double-A. He’s also starting meaningful MLB games down the stretch as the Braves try to seal their first division title since 2013. After spending last October in the Arizona Fall League, where he followed up an underwhelming 2017 season by allowing 10 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, he could find himself on the Braves’ playoff roster.

9. Vidal Brujan, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays Rays Depth Chart

The highest-ranked player to spend the entire season in Low-A, the 20-year-old Brujan slashed .320/.403/.459 while stealing 55 bases in his first crack at a full season league (27 games in High-A; 95 games in Low-A). He’ll still be overshadowed a bit in a deep Tampa Bay farm system that includes two of the best young prospects in the game, Wander Franco and Jesus Sanchez, but it’s hard to ignore such a rare combination of speed and on-base ability displayed by a switch-hitting middle infielder.

10. Michael King, SP, New York Yankees Yankees Depth Chart

The Yankees’ offseason trade that sent two MLB-ready players, Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith, to the Marlins cleared a pair of 40-man roster spots prior to the Rule 5 draft and brought back $250K in international bonus pool money. They also received King, who—whether anyone expected it or not—was about to have a breakout season.

After posting a 3.14 ERA with a 6.4 K/9 over 149 innings in Low-A in his age-22 season, numbers that typically indicate “possible future back-of-the-rotation workhorse,”  he looks to be much more than that after his 2018 performance. In 161 1/3 innings across Triple-A, Double-A and High-A, King posted a 1.79 ERA, 0.911 WHIP and 8.5 K/9. He was at his best once he reached Triple-A, posting a 1.15 ERA with only 20 hits and six walks allowed over 39 innings.

11. Taylor Widener, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks Diamondbacks Depth Chart

Unlike the trade to acquire King, the Yankees appear to have gotten the short end of the stick in a three-team, seven-player offseason deal with Arizona and Tampa Bay. They traded away Nick Solak to the Rays and Widener to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Brandon Drury, who was supposed to fill a short-term need for infield depth.

While Drury was a bust in New York—he had nine hits in 51 at-bats before being traded to Toronto in a July deal for J.A. Happ—Solak, a second baseman/outfielder, put up terrific numbers in Double-A (.834 OPS, 19 HR, 21 SB) and Widener has emerged as one of the better pitching prospects in the game. The 23-year-old right-hander posted a 2.75 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 11.5 K/9 over 137 1/6 innings with Double-A Jackson.

12. Josh Naylor, 1B/OF, San Diego Padres Padres Depth Chart

The offseason signing of first baseman Eric Hosmer certainly didn’t bode well for Naylor’s future with the Padres. Whether he had an MLB future at all, however, was already in question. First base prospects can’t just be good hitters. They need to mash, which is far from what Naylor did in 2017 (.761 OPS, 10 HR between Double-A and High-A). But a 20-year-old holding his own in Double-A is still interesting, nevertheless. So it was worth paying attention when he hit .379 with seven homers, five doubles, 13 walks and 12 strikeouts in April. He also spent most of his time in left field in 2018, adding a bit of versatility to his game.

Although April was his best month, by far, he still finished with an impressive .297/.383/.447 slash line. He’ll enter 2019 as a 21-year-old in Triple-A who has flashed some power (17 HR, 22 2B in 574 plate appearances) and above-average plate discipline (64 BB, 69 K).

13. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

Unlike the Jays and Mets, who had multiple reasons to keep Guerrero and Alonso in the Minors until 2019, the Sox’s decision to bypass Jimenez for a September call-up was more questionable.

Already on the 40-man roster and without much to prove after slashing .337/.384/.577 with 22 homers and 28 doubles between Triple-A and Double-A, Jimenez’s MLB debut appeared imminent as September approached. But White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, citing Jimenez’s need to improve his defense, confirmed in early September that he would not be called up. Of course, the 21-year-old probably would’ve benefited greatly from playing left field in the Majors for 20-25 games in September. And, of course, Hahn is just doing a good job of not saying the quiet part out loud: Eloy under team control through 2025 > Eloy under team control through 2024.

14. Dean Kremer, SP, Baltimore Orioles Orioles Depth Chart

After posting a 5.18 ERA in 2017, mostly as a relief pitcher in High-A, Kremer’s stock rose quickly with a full-time move to the starting rotation in 2018. In 16 starts for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, the 22-year-old right-hander posted a 3.30 ERA with a 13.0 K/9. After tossing seven shutout innings in his Double-A debut, the Dodgers included him as a key piece in the July trade for Manny Machado. Kremer continued to pitch well with Double-A Bowie (2.58 ERA, 45 1/3 IP, 38 H, 17 BB, 53 K) and now finds himself on track to help a rebuilding Orioles’ team in 2019.

15. Nicky Lopez, SS, Kansas City Royals Royals Depth Chart

Lopez started to turn some heads during last offseason’s Arizona Fall League, and it carried over into 2018 as he slashed .308/.382/.417 with nine homers, 15 stolen bases and more walks (60) than strikeouts (52) between Triple-A and Double-A.  It’s a sign that the 23-year-0ld’s bat is catching up with his stellar defense and that he’s closing in on the Majors, where he could team with Adalberto Mondesi to form one of the better young middle infield duos in the game.

16. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins Twins Depth Chart

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft didn’t disappoint in his first full professional season, posting an .853 OPS, nine homers, 23 doubles and 22 stolen bases in 75 Low-A games before a 2nd half promotion to High-A Fort Myers. He didn’t fare quite as well (.726 OPS, 5 HR, 6 SB in 46 games), but he did hit three homers in the playoffs to help his team win the Florida State League championship. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the if he reached Double-A early next season as a 19-year-old with a jump to the Majors in 2020 not out of the question.

17. Michael Kopech, SP, Chicago White Sox White Sox Depth Chart

Throwing a 100 MPH fastball isn’t as rare as it used to be, but Kopech has reportedly touched 105 MPH, putting him in a class of his own. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old right-hander is expected to join a long list of pitchers who have had their careers interrupted by Tommy John surgery after he was recently diagnosed with a torn UCL.

The timing isn’t great, as Kopech had just arrived in the Majors in late August and would’ve likely been a leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year in 2019. Still, he’ll only have to prove that he’s back to full health before he returns to the Majors—he should be ready to return early in the 2020 season— after making a strong impression in Triple-A with a 3.70 ERA and 12.1 K/9 in 24 starts.

18. Kevin Smith, SS, Toronto Blue Jays Blue Jays Depth Chart

Not only do Guerrero, Bichette and Cavan Biggio likely form the best trio of infield prospects in the game, two are sons of Hall of Famers—Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Craig Biggio, and Bichette’s dad, Dante, was also pretty good. And yet, another Blue Jays infield prospect with a very ordinary name and without MLB lineage managed to stand out. The 22-year-old finished the season with 25 homers, 31 doubles, 29 stolen bases and a cumulative .302/.358/.528 batting line between High-A and Low-A.

19. Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers Depth Chart

The former first-round pick wasn’t overly impressive in his first full Minor League season in 2017, slashing .244/.331/.362 with seven homers and 27 stolen bases for Low-A Great Lakes. A move to the hitter-friendly California League in 2018, however, seemed sure to give his offensive numbers a boost. It did. Lux had a .916 OPS and 41 extra-base hits in 404 plate appearances, but he also didn’t slow down once he reached the upper minors late in the year.

In 28 regular season games with Double-A Tulsa, the 20-year-old Lux slashed .324/.408/.495 with four homers in 120 plate appearances. It didn’t end there. Over an eight-game playoff run, the left-handed batter went 14-for-33 with five multi-hit games.

20. Patrick Sandoval, SP, Los Angeles Angels Angels Depth Chart

Acquiring the 21-year-old Sandoval from the Astros for free agent-to-be catcher Martin Maldonado could turn out to be the steal of the trade deadline. While the lefty didn’t stand out in Houston’s deep farm system, he was having a strong season at the High-A and Low-A levels at the time of the trade (2.56 ERA and 9.9 K/9 in 88 innings). The change of scenery didn’t affect him one bit as he tossed 14 2/3 shutout innings in the California League before finishing the season with four impressive Double-A starts (19 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 27 K).

Power Ranking Leaders By Level

Hitter: Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
Starting Pitcher: Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox
Relief Pitcher: Ian Gibaut, Tampa Bay Rays

Hitter: Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
Starting Pitcher: Taylor Widener, Arizona Diamondbacks
Relief Pitcher: Matt Pierpont, Colorado Rockies

Hitter: Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies
Pitcher: Emilio Vargas, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hitter: Chavez Young, Toronto Blue Jays
Pitcher: Jhonathan Diaz, Boston Red Sox

Short-Season A
Hitter: Tyler Freeman, Cleveland Indians
Pitcher: Jaison Vilera, New York Mets

Hitter: Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays
Pitcher: Joey Cantillo, San Diego Padres

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Johan Camargo Emerging For Braves]]> 2018-09-15T15:01:25Z 2018-09-15T15:01:25Z
  • There has been quite a bit of speculation about the future of the Braves’ third base spot, be it top prospect Austin Riley winning the job or the possibility that Atlanta could look to acquire a big-ticket name for the hot corner.  Johan Camargo, however, has played well as the regular third baseman this season, and The Athletic’s David O’Brien (subscription required) wrote earlier this week that Camargo seems to be forcing himself into the Braves’ future plans.  “He’s done a lot to (impress team officials),” manager Brian Snitker said.  “As they go into the offseason and they’re looking, they might be able to take money they were going to spend (at third base) and spend it somewhere else.”  Camargo has hit .274/.354/.468 with 18 homers over 474 PA this season, while also posting a +6.5 UZR/150 and +5 Defensive Runs Saved at the hot corner.  This adds up to an under-the-radar 3.0 fWAR season for the 24-year-old, who is under team control through the 2023 season.  The Braves could use Camargo in a super-utility role should Riley emerge as a viable big leaguer in Spring Training, or O’Brien even raises the possibility that Riley could become a trade chip if Camargo has done enough to win the everyday third base job going forward.  It would be a bold move to deal a top-100 prospect like Riley, though Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is no stranger to moving prospects for established Major League talent.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Activate Arodys Vizcaino, Place Luiz Gohara On 60-Day DL]]> 2018-09-14T17:33:12Z 2018-09-14T17:30:22Z The Braves announced Friday that they’ve activated right-hander Arodys Vizcaino from the 60-day disabled list. In order to open a spot on the 40-man roster, Atlanta reinstated lefty Luiz Gohara from the minor league disabled list, called him up to the Majors, and placed him on the MLB 60-day DL due to shoulder soreness of his own.

    Vizcaino, 27, was in the midst of a dominant season when he hit the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation in mid July. That injury cost him two months of the season, but he’ll return to finish off a season he began with 32 2/3 innings of 1.65 ERA ball. Along the way, Vizcaino picked up 15 saves and averaged 9.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and 0.55 HR/9 with a 32.9 percent ground-ball rate. His return will give the Braves another power arm to add to the relief corps at a time when top relievers A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler have had some struggles.

    The Braves, at this point, have all but locked up the National League East, as they hold a 7.5 game lead over a rapidly fading Phillies club that has won just twice in its past 10 contests. A healthy Vizcaino, though, should better position Atlanta for success in an eventual NLDS appearance that few would’ve predicted prior to Opening Day.

    As for Gohara, he’ll receive an extra 18 days of big league service that he may not have been expecting when he landed on the minor league disabled list in late August. He’ll still finish out the 2018 season with under a full year of service time, though he’ll be paid at the MLB rate for the final few weeks of the year even though his season is now definitively over.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Harper, D-Backs, Buchholz, Senzel, DeGrom]]> 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z 2018-09-14T05:31:33Z As ever, there’s plenty of water-cooler chatter about the eventual destination of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, who — had you not heard? — is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Particularly for fans of a Nats organization that is just weeks away from wrapping up a brutally disappointing campaign, it’s a subject of much attention. So eyebrows were raised recently at comments from Harper and, especially, club president of baseball ops/GM Mike Rizzo that could be interpreted as hinting at a reunion. In an appearance on MLB Network (Twitter link), Harper at least acknowledged a reunion is possible, saying that “it’s going to be an exciting future for the Nationals, and we’ll see if I’m in those plans.” Innocuous enough, to be sure, but perhaps the line could be interpreted as a wink toward contract talks. As for Rizzo, Chris Lingebach of 106.7 The Fan rounded things up. Those interested in parsing the words fully should click the link, but the key phrase at issue from Rizzo is his statement that he “won’t discuss [negotiations with Harper’s camp] until there’s something to announce.” Did the tight-lipped, hard-nosed GM tip his hand? It’s at most an arguable point.

    From this vantage point, there’s enough here to make you think, but hardly a clear indication as to how Harper’s fascinating free agency will turn out. Here’s the latest from the National League:

    • The Diamondbacks had held a strong position in the postseason race for much of the season, but as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes, they’re now left hoping for a memorable late-season comeback to get in. “[B]reakdowns occurring in every facet of their game,” Piecoro writes, have spurred a ghastly 4-16 run that has reversed the team’s fortunes. Unfortunately, odds are that the Arizona club will head back to the drawing board at season’s end — while watching two significant players (A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin) hit the open market. Still, it’s notable that the club has largely followed up on its successful 2017 campaign, as the thought in some quarters entering the year was that there wasn’t really enough talent to keep pace.
    • As is also covered in the above-linked piece, the D-Backs suffered an unwelcome blow in advance of tonight’s loss when they were forced to scratch righty Clay Buchholz. The veteran hurler has been an immense asset for Arizona, throwing 98 1/3 innings of 2.01 ERA ball since joining the club in mid-season as a minor-league signee. He’s now headed to Phoenix for testing, though the hope still seems to be that he’ll return this year. Regardless, it’s unfortunate news for the team but even more disappointing for the 34-year-old, who has dealt with plenty of health problems of late and will be reentering the open market at season’s end.
    • It has long been wondered what the Reds Baseball America points outwill do when they are ready to call up top prospect Nick Senzel, who’s blocked at his natural position of third base. We may be seeing the hints of an answer; as , Senzel is listed as an outfielder in the organization’s instructional league roster. That hardly guarantees anything, of course, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Senzel — who’s opportunity for a late-2018 callup was taken by a finger injury — come into camp in 2019 looking to crack the roster in the corner outfield. Just how it’ll all play out, though, remains to be seen.
    • Speaking of top prospects … among his many notes today, Jon Heyman of Fancred writes that the Mets took a targeted approach to discussions with other teams regarding ace righty Jacob deGrom. As Heyman puts it, the New York organization “focused” on the handful of clubs it deemed to have assets worth haggling over. When those teams weren’t willing to give up their best young assets, talks sputtered. Heyman cites “the Blue Jays, Braves, Padres, Yankees, and perhaps to a lesser extent the Brewers” as clubs that were engaged. But the ultra-premium prospects and young MLB players in those organizations simply weren’t on offer. It’s hard to argue with the Mets’ rationale; deGrom reached a new level this season, after all, and certainly shouldn’t be parted with by a major-market club for less than a compelling return.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Injury Updates: Vizcaino, Ramirez, Camargo]]> 2018-09-12T04:24:39Z 2018-09-12T04:20:26Z
  • The NL East-leading Braves should have Arodys Vizcaino back in action on Friday of this week, per Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter links), but righty Jose Ramirez won’t pitch again this season. Vizcaino hasn’t pitched since mid-July due to a shoulder issue and was moved to the 60-day DL earlier this month when the Braves made a series of moves to accommodate September roster expansion. They’ll need to make a 40-man move to accommodate Vizcaino’s return; Ramirez, already on the 60-day DL with a shoulder problem of his own, won’t be that move. Meanwhile, David O’Brien of The Athletic tweets that third baseman Johan Camargo exited tonight’s game due to groin tightness. The team will likely have additional information available either after the game or tomorrow morning.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tigers Claim Dustin Peterson From Braves]]> 2018-09-07T17:23:36Z 2018-09-06T19:06:49Z The Tigers announced Thursday that they’ve claimed outfielder Dustin Peterson off waivers from the Braves. In order to open a roster spot for Peterson, who was designated for assignment by Atlanta recently, Detroit transferred John Hicks from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Peterson has been optioned and will not join the Tigers’ big league roster at this time.

    Peterson, who’ll turn 24 this coming Monday, received an exceptionally brief promotion to the Majors this season, making just two plate appearances before being sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett. A second-round pick of the Padres back in the 2013 draft, he joined the Braves organization alongside Max Fried, Jace Peterson and Mallex Smith in the 2014 Justin Upton blockbuster.

    A former third baseman, Peterson moved to the outfield on a full-time basis back in 2015. He’s appeared at all three spots in the time since, though he’s best suited for corner work and has spent the bulk of his time in left field over the past two seasons. Peterson doesn’t strike out at an alarming rate (career 22 percent in Triple-A) but also isn’t overly proficient in terms of drawing walks (7.2 percent in Triple-A). He’s hit for a decent average but shown more gap power than over-the-fence pop in the upper minors, as evidenced by a .260/.321/.368 slash with a dozen homers and 40 doubles in 788 plate appearances.

    While some scouting reports have previously pegged Peterson for average to slightly above-average raw power, he’s yet to tap into that in the upper levels of the Braves’ system. That said, he still ranked 15th among Braves farmhands on the latest midseason update from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of, so it’s a bit surprising to see him change hands on a mere waiver claim. Peterson has a pair of minor league options left beyond the current season, so the Tigers can afford to be patient with him in the future, should he stick on the 40-man roster into the 2019 season.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Designate Dustin Peterson]]> 2018-09-03T00:21:01Z 2018-09-03T00:07:30Z The Braves have designated outfielder Dustin Peterson for assignment, the team announced via Twitter.  The move creates a 40-man roster spot for outfielder Preston Tucker, who Atlanta re-acquired from the Reds in a trade earlier today.

    A second-round pick for the Padres in the 2013 draft, Peterson joined the Atlanta organization as one of four prospects San Diego dealt to the Braves for Justin Upton back in December 2014.  He has posted a middling .259/.316/.375 slash line over 2599 PA in the minor leagues, though steadily progressed up the chain before an injury-shortened 2017 campaign led him to repeat Triple-A in 2018.  Peterson (who turns 24 next week) did well enough to earn his first taste of MLB action, a cup of coffee in May that saw him appear in two games as a pinch-hitter.

    Prior to the season, the 2018 Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranked Peterson as the 22nd-best minor leaguer within the Braves’ deep farm system, citing his “above-average bat speed and above-average power.”  His power diminished in 2017, perhaps due to the hamate injury that limited him to 87 games, and Peterson didn’t show too much extra pop again this year, with 11 homers and a .406 slugging percentage over 442 PA at the Triple-A level.

    Even with this modest performance, still had Peterson 15th on their list of Atlanta’s top 30 prospects.  Given his youth and second-round pedigree, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a team claim Peterson off DFA waivers to give him a look during the expanded roster period in September.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Acquire Preston Tucker]]> 2018-09-02T22:15:35Z 2018-09-02T22:07:22Z The Braves have brought back a familiar face in Preston Tucker, re-acquiring the outfielder from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations (as per the Braves’ official Twitter feed).

    Atlanta previously traded Tucker to Cincinnati as part of the teams’ July deal involving veteran outfielder Adam Duvall.  The 28-year-old Tucker failed to impress during his brief time with the Reds, with only a .664 OPS over 42 plate appearances, and he was demoted to Triple-A earlier this week.  Over the entire 2018 season, however, Tucker’s .240/.302/.419 slash line over 169 combined PA with the Braves and Reds this year is nearly league average (96 wRC+).

    Tucker will provide the Braves with a bit more outfield depth as rosters expand in September, plus there is some late-bloomer potential given his strong career minor league numbers.  Tucker does have 23 homers over his 636 career PA in the big leagues, though his overall production at the plate leaves much to be desired (.224/.281/.410).

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Select Ryan Flaherty]]> 2018-09-02T22:05:36Z 2018-09-02T21:41:38Z
  • The Braves have selected infielder Ryan Flaherty from Triple-A Gwinnett and placed outfielder Michael Reed (left lower back strain) on the 60-day DL, per a team announcement. Flaherty’s back in Atlanta not long after it outrighted him Aug. 23. The veteran has struggled across 172 PAs this season as a member of the Braves, with whom he has hit .222/.298/.301.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Heyman: Braves Remain Interested In J.T. Realmuto]]> 2018-09-02T18:57:10Z 2018-09-02T18:57:10Z
  • There isn’t much optimism around baseball that the Marlins will be able to extend star catcher J.T. Realmuto, reports Heyman, who writes that he “apparently remains a target” of the NL East rival Braves. Atlanta extended catcher Tyler Flowers earlier this week, but only for a guaranteed $6MM over two years. Realmuto is also controllable for the next two seasons, and given that the Marlins won’t contend during that span, it seems like a strong bet that they’ll trade the 27-year-old if they’re unable to extend him.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Braves Promote Kyle Wright]]> 2018-09-01T23:34:40Z 2018-09-01T23:32:17Z The Braves announced several roster moves Saturday, including the promotion of right-handed pitching prospect Kyle Wright, whom they selected from Triple-A Gwinnett. The club also transferred closer Arodys Vizcaino to the 60-day disabled list and selected outfielder Lane Adams’ contract from Triple-A. Meanwhile, injured righty Brandon McCarthy re-aggravated his right knee during a rehab assignment and did not come off the 60-day DL, Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

    There’s a lot to unpack here, though the most exciting news for Atlanta is the addition of Wright. The ex-Vanderbilt standout entered the 2017 draft as a potential No. 1 pick, but he fell to No. 5, leading the Braves to scoop Wright up and sign him to a then-record bonus worth $7MM. Wright has made good on that pick by emerging as one of the majors’ elite pitching prospects, evidenced in part by ranking him as the game’s 24th-best farmhand. The 22-year-old is set to become the latest highly promising Braves hurler to debut in 2018, joining the now-injured Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint and Kolby Allard.

    While Wright has a chance to eventually emerge as a high-end starter, he’ll work out of the playoff-contending Braves’ bullpen down the stretch, per Burns. Wright did make three relief appearances out of seven at the Triple-A level this year, but he has primarily served as a starter in 2018. Across 27 appearances and 24 starts between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Wright pitched to a 3.46 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.

    Elsewhere in the Braves’ bullpen, Vizcaino’s move to the 60-day DL looks discouraging on the surface, but he’s still likely to make it back in 2018, manager Brian Snitker told Burns and other reporters on Saturday. Vizcaino had been on the 10-day DL since July 14 with right shoulder troubles, so he’s now ineligible to return until mid-September. His absence has paved the way for lefty A.J. Minter to close for the Braves, and the latter has converted 11 of 13 saves while notching a 3.12 ERA with 10.21 K/9 against 2.94 BB/9 in 52 innings this season.

    While the the latest development regarding Vizcaino isn’t ideal, McCarthy’s setback is downright discouraging, as it’s now possible he has thrown his last major league pitch. McCarthy, who hasn’t taken a major league mound since June 24, announced earlier this month that he plans to retire at the end of the season. The 35-year-old has started in all 15 of his appearances this season, but he was set to finish the year as a reliever upon his return.

    Adams, whom the Braves signed to a minors pact in mid-July, saw action with them earlier season and last year, totaling 143 plate appearances and batting a respectable .270/.345/.460. The 28-year-old was out of the Atlanta organization for a brief period in 2018, though, as he elected free agency in late April and then latched on with the Cubs. But Adams struggled with Chicago’s top minor league affiliate before rejoining Gwinnett, with which he hit an unappealing .191/.238/.266 with no home runs in 101 PAs this season.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[September Call-Ups: 9/1/18]]> 2018-09-01T22:38:55Z 2018-09-01T21:24:34Z A few call-ups were announced yesterday, but we’re likely to see far more prospect promotions and even contract selections take place today as rosters expand. We’ll use this post to keep track of those moves…

    • The Marlins selected the contract of righty starter Jeff Brigham today; he’ll be among those playing in the majors for the first time ever. Brigham’s solid 3.44 ERA in Triple-A this season is muddied a bit by his 4.45 FIP, but he’s maintained solid ratios. Brigham’s 8.25 K/9 and brilliant 2.24 BB/9 give him a solid 3.69 K/BB ratio that probably looks quite nice to a Marlins club that’s hurting for serviceable major league starters. Miami has also recalled right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren along with catcher Chad Wallach.
    • The Athletics selected several contracts today, including that of catching prospect Beau Taylor. The lefty-hitting backstop has never played in the majors, but he’s done well for himself at the Triple-A level this season by drawing walks in 14% of his plate appearances while hitting .248. He’s even chipped in a pair of stolen bases. The biggest knock on Taylor is his lack of power; the 28-year-old owns a sub-.100 ISO and has never hit more than eight homers in a given season. Other contracts selected by the Astros today include those of lefty Dean Kiekhefer and righties Chris Hatcher and Liam Hendriks. The A’s recalled lefty Daniel Coulombe and shortstop Franklin Barreto as well.  
    • The Indians selected the contract of right-hander Jon Edwards today, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015. The 30-year-old Edwards has done well for himself in the Tribe’s minor league system in 2018, though, racking up 56 strikeouts in just 39 1/3 innings while pitching to a 3.64 ERA. Though he’s exhibited extreme control issues in the past, his 2.70 BB/9 in 30 innings with Triple-A Columbus suggests there’s a possibility he’s put those problems behind him. The Tribe promoted catcher Eric Haase to the majors alongside him.


    • The Mariners have selected the contract of Justin Grimm among their September moves, whom they signed to a minor league contract on July 25th. Grimm’s been plagued by shoulder and back issues all season and struggled to a cataclysmic 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Royals earlier this season, which led to his release early on in the summer. With the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, though, he’s put up a pristine 1.64 ERA and an even more impressive 13.91 K/9 mark. In addition to Grimm, Seattle also selected the contract of Kristopher Negron, and recalled right-handers Chasen Bradford and Ryan Cook, lefty James Pazos, catcher David Freitas.
    • The Nationals have selected the contract of right-hander Austen Williams, who’ll be getting his first MLB cup of coffee this September. He’s been quite impressive in the upper minors this season, including a 0.55 ERA in 16 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level. That’s backed up by excellent peripherals, including 20 strikeouts against just four walks. Williams had pitched exclusively as a starter until this season, and it appears a transition to a relief role has catapulted him to a status as an incredibly intriguing talent. The Nats also recalled catcher Pedro Severino to fill in while Wieters is dealing with a hip/groin injury (per Jamal Collier of
    • The White Sox promoted Caleb Frare to get his first taste of the bigs; as James Fegan of The Athletic points out, he needed to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be protected from the coming winter’s Rule 5 Draft. They’ve good reason to do so, as the lefty reliever has thrived with the organization ever since being acquired from the Yankees a month ago in exchange for $1.5MM in international bonus pool funds. He’s put up fantastic numbers in 12 2/3 innings at Triple-A Charlotte, including a 0.71 ERA and 13.50 K/9. Aaron Bummer will join him as the other White Sox player to receive a September promotion so far.
    • The Royals have selected the contract of catcher Meibrys Viloria to account for the hole left by Drew Butera, who was traded to the Rockies yesterday. Fascinatingly, Kansas City decided to promote the 21-year-old Columbia native even though he’s never played above the High-A level. He’s done just fine there, though, batting .260/.342/.360 in 407 plate appearances over the course of 2018. Viriola is expected to maje his MLB debut as early as this week while mainstay catcher Salvador Perez deals with a sprained thumb.
    • After a short stay in the minors, righty reliever Ray Black is back up with the Giants. He’s had a poor showing in the majors so far, allowing ten earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. He did manage to strike out 22 batters in that span, though, and owns a 2.11 FIP in 25 2/3 innings at Triple-A this season. His blistering 16.13 K/9 at that level perhaps speaks to his potential even more.
    • The Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly today, who’s widely considered to be the club’s catcher of the future once Yadier Molina’s contract is complete. However, he’s yet to prove his worth at the major-league level, as evidenced by his .150/.216/.187 batting line across 118 MLB plate appearances. The Redbirds have also called up lefty Tyler Webb and righty Daniel Poncedeleon.
    • The Phillies have opted to recall outfielder Aaron Altherr, who’d largely been a fixture in the club’s major-league outfield for the past two seasons prior to a late-July demotion. While his 13.3% walk rate so far this season was downright fantastic, that was about the only aspect of Altherr’s performance to be happy about; he was striking out at a 32.7% clip while hitting just .171 and slugging just .305. Philadelphia also added outfielder Dylan Cozens and righty reliever Yacksel Rios to their active roster.
    • The Yankees are set to give right-hander Stephen Tarpley his first taste of major-league action after selecting his contract earlier today. Tarpley is quite an interesting arm-he’s been utilized as a multi-inning reliever at two levels of the minors this year, and to great effect. Most recently, he’s pitched to a 2.65 ERA and 10.06 K/9 across 17 appearances spanning 34 innings at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Infielder Tyler Wade and right-hander Luis Cessa will also join the MLB club as rosters expand.
    • The Mets will give righty Eric Hanhold his first taste of major-league action, MLBTR has learned. Acquired in the 2017 trade that sent Neil Walker to the Brewers, Hanhold has apparently been quite unlucky to own his 7.11 ERA at Triple-A this season. Rather, his 3.43 FIP in 19 innings at that level produces some level of optimism that he can serve as a quality reliever in the majors. A .429 BABIP and 2.86 K/BB ratio further strengthen that case.
    • The Reds are set to give shortstop prospect Blake Trahan a September call-up, as C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic was among those to tweet. Trahan came to the Reds by way of the club’s third-round draft pick back in 2015. He did not rank amongst MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Reds prospects in the publication’s most recent rankings, though Fangraphs ranks him 24th in that regard thanks to a 55 speed tool and a 60-grade arm. He’s also likely to be a league-average shortstop. That’s about all there is to like about Trahan at present, as he’s only hit .245/.327/.302 at the minors’ highest level.
    • The Reds have also recalled Lucas Sims, who arrived in Cincinnati just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package in exchange for sending Adam Duvall to Atlanta. Sims owns a 5.96 ERA and 7.15 K/9 in a Braves uniform, but his minors track record indicates he might have better days yet to come; the righty has managed to strike out at least ten batters per nine innings at every level of the minors post-Rookie ball, and has a sub-4.00 MiLB ERA in each of the past two seasons.
    • The Twins will promote right-hander Zach Littell, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Littell has but 3 1/3 innings of MLB experience, during which time he allowed seven earned runs with one strikeout en route to a demotion. His 3.57 ERA at Triple-A this season is far more palatable, albeit unspectacular.
    • The Twins also announced that they’ve selected the contract of left-hander Andrew Vasquez, who’ll be receiving his first cup of coffee after pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA out of minor-league bullpens across the past three seasons combined. They’ve also selected catcher Chris Gimenez in addition to recalling outfielder Johnny Field and right-hander Tyler Duffey.
    • The Red Sox have officially recalled five players, including first base/outfield type Sam Travis. After serving as a somewhat serviceable piece in 2017 (.263/.325/.342 batting line), Travis has struggled in limited major-league action this year to the tune of a 45 wRC+ and -0.1 fWAR. Boston has also promoted left-handers Bobby Poyner and Robby Scott, as well as right-hander William Cuevas and infielder Tzu-Wei Lin.
    • The Tigers have recalled right-hander Sandy Baez from Double-A Erie, per a club announcement. Baez made his major-league debut back on June 4th, entering the game in relief during a double-header. He didn’t allow any runs in 4 1/3 innings, though he did walk three batters in that appearance. Aside from that, Baez has never pitched above Double-A, and owns a troublesome 5.64 ERA there on the 2018 season, in part due to command issues.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-Backs Acquire Chris Stewart]]> 2018-08-31T00:15:01Z 2018-08-30T22:27:42Z 7:14pm: The deal is official. Arizona will send cash considerations in the deal.

    5:27pm: The Diamondbacks have agreed to a deal to acquire veteran catcher Chris Stewart from the Braves, per Robert Murray of The Athletic (via Twitter). Cash or a player to be named later will head to Atlanta in return, The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan tweets.

    Stewart had been designated for assignment recently. He had briefly returned to the majors after being designated and outrighted earlier in the season. When the Braves acquired third catcher Rene Rivera yesterday, it became clear that Stewart wasn’t in their plans down the stretch.

    While the D-Backs already have three catchers on their active roster, this’ll represent another depth piece for an organization that obviously values having options behind the dish. Stewart is not on the 40-man roster at present, but would need to be added to join the active roster.

    Though he has rarely hit much at all in the majors, the 36-year-old is valued for his work behind the dish and in managing a staff. He has spent most of the present season at Triple-A, where he carries a .219/.299/.277 slash in 156 plate appearances.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Braves Acquire Lucas Duda]]> 2018-08-29T22:28:51Z 2018-08-29T22:28:35Z 5:28pm: The Royals are covering about half of Duda’s remaining salary, tweets David O’Brien of The Athletic.

    4:45pm: The Royals and Braves have both announced the move.

    4:19pm: The Royals have traded first baseman Lucas Duda to the Braves in exchange for cash, reports Jeffrey Flanagan of (via Twitter). He reportedly cleared revocable trade waivers earlier this month and recently ranked 17th on MLBTR’s list of the top 20 remaining August trade candidates. The teams have not yet formally announced the move.

    Lucas Duda | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    Duda, 32, will give the Braves some left-handed punch off the bench over the final five weeks of the regular season and, the team hopes, into the playoffs. While he hasn’t had a strong overall season, hitting just .242/.311/.415 on the year, those pedestrian numbers are in some part due to the fact that the Royals have played him against left-handed pitching far more than his track record against southpaws should dictate. Duda has taken 30 percent of his plate appearances against left-handed opponents in 2018 and, unsurprisingly, struggled at a .180/.255/.258 clip.

    However, in 239 plate appearances while holding the platoon advantage, Duda has been a vastly superior hitter. He’s hit righties at a .267/.335/.479 clip, swatting 11 of his 13 homers and 11 of his 12 doubles in those matchups. Atlanta had reportedly already attempted to claim Matt Adams from the Nationals to fill a similar role, but the Cardinals had waiver priority over Atlanta and wound up acquiring him instead.

    Duda signed a one-year deal with Kansas City this past offseason and is playing the year on a $3.5MM base salary. He earned a $100K bonus for taking his 300th and 325th plate appearance this season, and he’ll take home an additional $100K for every 25th plate appearance he takes in 2018. Because of those incentives, that base salary has risen to $3.7MM and will soon be bumped to $3.8MM, but with a presumably limited role on the horizon in Atlanta, he’s not likely to unlock much more of that incentives package.

    [Related: Updated Kansas City Royals depth chart and Atlanta Braves depth chart]

    Atlanta has been a middle-of-the-pack offense against right-handed pitching to this point in the season, hitting .256/.321/.413 — good for a 96 wRC+ that is tied for the 16th-best mark in baseball. Duda will give them some additional thump to use in those matchups in late-game settings and will instantly become the team’s best left-handed option off the bench. Prior to the trade, Rio Ruiz was the team’s lone lefty on the bench.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Braves To Acquire Rene Rivera]]> 2018-08-29T18:37:24Z 2018-08-29T18:01:08Z The Braves have acquired catcher Rene Rivera from the Angels, per an announcement from the Los Angeles organization (h/t Jon Morosi of, via Twitter). The Halos allowed Rivera to depart via a straight waiver claim.

    With the move, the Atlanta organization will take over Rivera’s contract. Just under $500K remains on his $2.8MM salary for the year. The veteran receiver will be a free agent at season’s end.

    Rivera, 35, is best known for his excellent work behind the dish. He has typically graded as an excellent framer, though he has been more in range of average over the past two seasons. Rivera has also traditionally been quite effective at limiting the running game.

    While he missed a big chunk of time this year due to injury, limiting him to 30 games of action on the season, Rivera has also been reasonably productive with the bat. He carries a .244/.287/.439 slash with four home runs over 87 plate appearances, though he has drawn only four walks to go with 32 strikeouts.

    In Kurt Suzuki and the just-extended Tyler Flowers, the Braves already have two catchers who have combined to form a strong overall duo. The organization did just drop veteran depth receiver Chris Stewart from its 40-man roster, so perhaps it sees this as an opportunity to ensure there’s a reliable player in place in the event of injury. He’ll also help spread the burden down the stretch for a club that now has the inside track to winning the NL East.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.