Tag Archives: Braxton Davidson

Braves’ Prospect Hot Sheet – Week Ending 5/5/2017

More hot bats as the weather warms up, but the arms aren’t interested in suddenly becoming overlooked. An impressive week from several big name youngsters as well as some not so highly-publicized kids.

As always, this isn’t a “re-ranking” of When Sid Slid’s Top 30, simply the hottest players in the system in any given week during the season.

Continue reading

Braves’ Top 30 Prospects – Postseason 2016

 

Boy, oh boy – what a difference a year makes!!!

Here’s When Sid Slid’s take on the Braves’ top prospects at the end of the 2016 season with their projected 2017 placements (with ages during 2017) as well as projected ETAs for arrival at SunTrust Park.

Also keep your eyes peeled for a soon-to-come interview with Braves’ Director Of Scouting Brian Bridges where he’ll get to share his thoughts on where so many couch-evaluators (like yours truly and the rest of us) go wrong as well as his great insight about other topics we will all be on the edge of our seats to hear!!!

Continue reading

Braves’ Organizational Depth Chart – Pre-Trade Deadline 2016

 

Here’s a quick look at where the organization stands prior to what could be a busy week during the rebuild. Even if the Braves aren’t particularly active on the trade market, we could be getting closer to some veterans being released to provide opportunities for some of the youngsters to get their feet wet at the MLB level with an eye towards Opening Day 2017 at SunTrust Park. This is not a reflection of our Midseason Top 30 Prospects which will be unveiled following the deadline.

Continue reading

The Case For Ryan Braun

 

As the 2015 season winds down after the trading deadlines have passed, more and more of us begin looking at potential offseason moves we’d like to see happen. Here’s a look at one that seems to make sense for John Hart to consider as he and his staff continue to find ways to very quickly return the Braves to relevance before the team moves into SunTrust Park at the beginning of the 2017 season.

Hart & Company have achieved the vast majority of their goals thus far, having completely rebuilt the farm system in almost no time, and (almost as amazingly) created plenty of financial flexibility to add important players that are better fits through several shrewd trades. Now it’s time to finish the job and go get those final important pieces to make the franchise a contender and complete one of the most impressive “makeovers” in recent memory.

Continue reading

Braves’ Top 30 Prospects – Midseason 2015

A Midseason Top 30 List in August, you ask? Absolutely. I’ve always preferred to wait until after the signing deadline for players selected in the Rule IV Draft and the non-waiver trading deadline to pass before trying to race everyone else to get my rankings out there. Everyone else typically has to make multiple changes to amend their lists when the handful of draftees that don’t sign show up on campus somewhere or following the non-waiver trading deadline when someone makes a big “win now” deal.  I’d rather take my time reading as many reports about newly drafted and traded prospects as I can so I’ll hopefully have a better feel for who and what some of these kids are.  A couple of other differences you’ll likely notice in our rankings are:

 

1.) Our Midseason Top 30 excludes ANY players already promoted, regardless of whether they’ve reached AB or IP limits or not. The main reason for that is that the Braves have historically been an organization that doesn’t “rush” prospects they feel aren’t ready unless absolutely necessary. There are always exceptions, but the organization usually doesn’t like to shuttle players up-and-down if they don’t absolutely have to – SPs in particular. Recently promoted players like Williams Perez, Mike Foltynewicz,  Matt Wisler, Manny Banuelos, and Arodys Vizcaino aren’t likely returning to the farm unless they struggle mightily or John Hart & Company decide to change their roles moving forward (which could conceivably happen if they decide to try to transform Foltynewicz into a late-inning weapon), so they don’t qualify for When Sid Slid’s summer list.

2.) I also tend to be more aggressive when it comes to ranking younger players who are further away from making an impact on the team’s MLB roster than many others. Ceiling is usually the main fallback criteria for this list. You’ll see names here you might not have heard much (or anything) about when comparing this list to others you’ll see elsewhere. This is (of course) a bit of a double-edged sword – I may hit on some fast-risers you don’t see chatted up in other places, but I’ll also miss more often since some of these players don’t have much of a track-record at the professional level. It’s always much safer to talk about players that have more experience because you can always use the crutch that those players can still be useful pieces as utility players, 4th or 5th OFs, and bullpen swingmen or middle relievers. I’ll never say that that type of player isn’t important to winning organizations, but I will say that those players develop when they show that they’re not quite good enough to be everyday players, high-leverage RPs, or have enough of an arsenal to stick in a MLB rotation.

 

Neither of those points make this list “better” or “worse” than other lists you’ll see elsewhere – just different.  You’ve likely read a bit about many players on our list already, so our more-detailed capsules aren’t published until the offseason, but there may be bits of information here about some of the players you haven’t heard much about as yet.

So now, here’s When Sid Slid’s Atlanta Braves’ Top 30 Prospects – Midseason 2015…

Continue reading

Braves’ Top 30 Prospects – Pre-Rule IV Draft 2015

It’s been a busy non-baseball period for me  recently, so I’ve been unable to post our Top 30 Prospects list following last winter’s “transformation” and apologize for the delay. I wanted to make sure to get this list posted so we can see just how substantially the list could change now that the organization has 6 of the top 89 picks when the clock starts ticking on the Draft next Monday night.

Just for background on where some of the potential addition of impact talent may be coming from, here’s a look at what everyone’s looking forward to Monday –

First Round

Pick #14 (#14 overall)

Supplemental 1st Round

Pick #2 (#28 overall – Compensation for Ervin Santana signing)

Competitive Balance Round A

Pick #5 (#41 overall – Acquired from San Diego in the Kimbrel/Melvin Upton trade)

Second Round

Pick #12 (#54 overall)

Competitive Balance Round B

Pick #5 (#75 overall – Acquired from Arizona in the Victor Reyes trade)

Third Round

Pick #14 (#89 overall)

Depending on who’s available with those picks (plus several impressive early season performances by other prospects in the organization), this list will look a lot different when our updated Post-Draft/Midseason Top 30 comes out soon.

For now though, here’s what our earlier preseason list looked like…

 

1.)  Jose Peraza, 2B (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 20 years old) – ETA Late-2015

2.) Mike Foltynewicz, RHSP (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 23) – ETA Late-2015

3.) Matt Wisler, RHSP (AAA- Gwinnett Braves, 22) – ETA Late-2015

4.) Max Fried, LHSP (Injured – Rehab, 21) – ETA Early-2018

5.) Ozhaino Albies, SS (Lo-A – Rome Braves, 18) – ETA Early-2018

6.) Jace Peterson, 2B (MLB – Atlanta Braves, 25 ) – ETA Late-2015

7.) Manny Banuelos, LHSP (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 24) – ETA Late-2015

8.) Tyrell Jenkins, RHSP (AA – Mississippi Braves, 22) – ETA Late-2016

9.) Rio Ruiz, 3B (AA – Mississippi Braves, 21) – ETA Late-2016

10.) Lucas Sims, RHSP (Hi-A -Carolina Mudcats, 21) – ETA Early-2017

11.) Braxton Davidson, OF (Lo-A – Rome Braves, 18) – ETA Early-2018

12.) Ricardo Sanchez, LHSP (Lo-A – Rome Braves, 18) – ETA Early-2018

13.) Arodys Vizcaino, RHRP (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 24) – ETA Late-2015

14.) Jason Hursh, RHSP (AA – Mississippi Braves, 23) – ETA Early-2016

15.) Mallex Smith, CF (AA – Mississippi Braves, 22) – ETA Early-2017

16.) Garrett Fulenchek, RHSP (Rookie – GCL Braves, 18) – ETA Early-2018

17.) Dustin Peterson, LF (Hi-A – Carolina Mudcats, 20) – ETA Early-2017

18.) Alec Grosser, RHSP (Lo-A – Rome Braves, 20) – ETA Early-2018

19.) Mauricio Cabrera, RHRP (AA – Mississippi Braves, 21) – ETA Late-2016

20.) Cody Martin, RHSP (MLB – Atlanta Braves, 25) – ETA Late-2015

21.) Todd Cunningham, CF (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 26) – ETA Early-2015

22.) Jose Briceno, C (Hi-A – Carolina Mudcats, 22) – ETA Early-2017

23.) Daniel Winkler, RHSP (Injured, Rehab, 25) – ETA Late-2016

24.) Williams Perez, RHSP (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 24) – ETA Late-2015

25.) Johan Camargo, SS (Hi-A – Carolina Mudcats, 21) – ETA Early-2017

26.) Jordan Paroubeck, CF (Rookie – GCL Braves, 20) – ETA Early-2018

27.) Andrew Thurman, RHSP (Hi-A – Carolina Mudcats, 23) – ETA Early-2017

28.) Chad Sobotka, RHSP (Lo-A – Rome Braves, 21) – ETA Late-2017

29.) Aaron Kurcz, RHRP (AAA – Gwinnett Braves, 24) – ETA Late-2015

30.) Wes Parsons, RHSP (Hi-A – Mississippi Braves, 22) – ETA Late-2016

 

 

Mission (Almost) Accomplished

In a surprising (and not so surprising to some) move on Opening Day 2015 (yeah, the one where only two teams play), John Hart and his staff continued their complete makeover of the Braves by trading fan-favorite Craig Kimbrel and fan-punching bag Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres in yet another blockbuster. Several pundits had drawn the ire of fans across Braves’ Nation earlier this winter when they pointed out that Kimbrel should be “on the block” to help with the quest to obtain more young, controllable talent  in spite of Hart’s public proclamations that the organization had no intention of trading their All-Star Closer. Many pointed out that having an elite-level Closer was simply unnecessary for a team that looks like it could struggle to win 75 games, and I agree with them.We weren’t telling Hart & Company anything they didn’t know folks – this ain’t their first rodeo. There will be a faction of fans who will absolutely hate the deal, but most of those tend to be younger and speak out because they’re thinking with their hearts instead of their heads – they’ve now seen most of their favorite players traded away and they’re upset. Many of them weren’t around to suffer through the dark days of the 70’s and 80’s when the Braves had little talent on the MLB roster, no help on the way from the farm system, and no defined plan for improvement.

The fact that they were able to include Upton in the deal was probably what sealed it – there were multiple reports all off-season that the beginning point in most of the earlier trade discussions was that you also had to take Melvin/B. J. and a big chunk of his salary if you wanted Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, or Evan Gattis, but none of those ever worked out. You’ve likely read other articles by now that discuss the fact that dumping Melvin along with Kimbrel saves the organization millions by clearing the next-to-last “bad contract” left moving forward (several previous accounting procedures removed the remaining money due Dan Uggla from the payroll, leaving just Chris Johnson as the one player they’d really like to move), so we’re not going to delve deeper into that.

This is more about what the Braves received and what moves they could potentially make going forward in their effort to be more than “relevant” by the time they move into SunTrust Park in 2017. At the MLB-level,  Carlos Quentin was included as strictly a money-swap to offset some of Melvin’s salary, and has already been designated for assignment. The team also agreed to take on Cameron Maybin to also help the Padres, although Maybin will be kept since he’s still relatively young and has flashed upside in the past. He gives Atlanta a bounce back CF candidate who needed a change of scenery that will be easier to stomach if he doesn’t because of the difference in salary commitments. (Note – Cameron’s also a big personal favorite as a local kid who grew up in western NC and attended T. C. Roberson HS along with recent Brave Braxton Davidson.) In the event Maybin returns to form soon, the Braves could release Kelly Johnson and have Eric Young, Jr. slide over to platoon with Jonny Gomes in LF this season while also acting as the backup CF.

Now for the goods. Matt Wisler is a 22 year old SP that was the Padres’ #1 prospect according to Baseball America (#34 overall in their rankings, #53 overall according to Baseball Prospectus, and #69 on MLB.com’s list), and he was widely rumored to be one of Hart’s targets in the earlier Upton deal. Wisler’s yet another sinkerballer who should benefit from Roger McDowell’s tutelage – his fastball sits 92-93 and touches 95, backing it up with a plus changeup as well as both a slider and curve that have graded out as average to above-average at times. Matt is very close to being big-league ready (debuting as the team’s #2 prospect on the updated MLB Pipeline list), and will likely be a rotation option later this season in case of injury or in the event Trevor Cahill or Mike Minor are able to pitch well-enough that a contender is willing to trade a good prospect or two for them. Jordan Paroubeck is a 20 year old switch-hitting OF and profiles as a LF who can handle CF in a pinch that was drafted #69 overall by the Padres in the 2013 draft. Jordan got his first taste of professional baseball in 2014 and impressed with a .286/.346/.457/.803 slash in limited ABs. He graduated from Junipero Serra High in San Mateo, CA – the same program that produced former Al-Star Barry Bonds. Paroubeck comes in at #24 on MLB Pipeline’s updated Braves’ list, joining fellow former Padre Mallex Smith as Atlanta’s highest ranked OF prospects behind 2014 draftee Braxton Davidson. Atlanta also receives San Diego’s Competitive Balance Pick in the 2015 MLB Draft (#41 overall), giving them 5 of the top 90 picks (#14, #28, #41, #54, and #89) to continue restocking the system with.

The goal Hart & Company vaguely outlined when they took over was to return the organization to one deep in pitching as its calling card (check), replenish a woefully thin minor league feeder system (check – the trades have delivered the Braves’ #2, #3, #6, #7, #10, #11, #12, #16, #17, #18, #21, #22, and #24 prospects plus #27 Rule V pick Daniel Winkler who led the minors in strikeouts prior to becoming a Tommy John Surgery victim), and return the team to prominence in short order before the new park opens. With the financial flexibility created with this trade they’ve now put themselves in position to bid on one of the big three corner OF free-agents this winter (Justin Upton/Yoenis Cespedes/Jason Heyward), AND one of the front of the rotation arms that will be available if they so choose (David Price would be quite a nice fit IMO). They’ve also built enough SP depth to potentially transition BOTH Mike Foltyniewicz and Manny Banuelos into late-inning options to join Jason Grilli in the hopes that Grilli can help Folty become the next Kimbrel.

Suddenly it looks like the huge uphill battle the front office faced just a short few months ago can actually be won. Just a few more steps to go.