The noteworthy piece was the competitive balance B pick that would later turn into Brett Cumberland. Cumberland was traded along with Jean Carlos Encarnacion, Bruce Zimmerman, Evan Phillips, and international bonus pool money for Kevin Gausman. So for taking on the bulk of Matusz’ $3.9M commitment (he was traded in May), the Braves got a piece that then became, say, 30% of the trade value to get Gausman.
This one looked really good in the beginning but is beginning to crater. Since last year, Demeritte has grabbed an outfielder’s mitt and is looking to break the bigs as a utility player. But a .222/.316/.416 line in his second go around at AA at the age of 24 isn’t promising.
We traded some prospects for their prospects, but we were getting the player with the most upside: Jackson. But since, Jackson has been unable to develop his hit tool, and defensively, he seems to have made minimal improvement. Pike looked interesting as a sleeper pitching piece, but his age-24 season saw him moved to the bullpen and not pitch well at AA. We didn’t trade much, but we didn’t really get much back as its unfolded.
But catchers take a long time to develop at times, so Jackson has a spot on the 40-man for now, and they’ll probably stick with him if he shows any improvement. It’s really hard to find catchers who can hit and at least field the position passably, so Jackson will get every opportunity to be successful. He’s certainly not going to make it as an outfielder the way things are going now.
As you know, Garcia pitched for us for a half-season, and was then traded for Huscar Ynoa. Ynoa made 18 starts at Rome this year with a high strike out rate (9.82/9), but struggled with command at both Rome and then Florida. But he’s only 20, and his swing-and-miss ability still makes him a significant prospect. He’ll be allowed to pitch deeper into games this year, and he’ll probably repeat A+. The person who has given his team the most value has been John Gant Gant threw 114 IP for St. Louis this year, providing a 3.47 ERA/4.07 FIP while making 19 starts in 26 appearances. He dropped his funky hitch in his delivery, and now he just looks like a nice little piece for a contending team.
As a point of update, Shoe Simmon’s arm is still Swiss cheese. Luiz Gohara had a disappointing season, with his father passing away in his arms in January and then his mother shortly after falling ill. He then suffered a leg injury in Spring Training, and he never got in a rhythm at AAA. It was his first full season at AAA, and he never got more than about 7 weeks of continuous starting at AAA all year. He spent some time going back and forth in Atlanta’s pen, and it would seem he should be given some time in Spring Training and AAA to continue to develop. He’s only 22 years old, younger than Kyle Wright, Max Fried, and within a month of Touki Toussaint. And none of them have been through as much as Gohara has. There’s a lot of competition for what seems to be one open spot currently in the rotation, so we shall see if he can earn a spot.
You didn’t think I was going to refrain from talking about Rock Smith, did you? Mallex Smith had a season most closely reflective of what he skill set seems to be. He contributed a .296/.367/.406 (115 OPS+) line to the 90-win Rays, stealing 40 bases in 52 chances, playing centerfield in what graded at is average-to-slightly-below-average. B-Ref liked him to a 3.5 WAR with Fangraphs at 3.4 fWAR. And he’s pre-arb, so he did all of that for about $600K. So for this trade to work out, we will need Gohara to emerge and give us some really good production.
Around $7M in 2015 payroll money for Touki Toussaint. Wow, still as crazy as it seemed at the time. Touki took the next step he had the talent to do. He had a breakthrough performance at AA, and then got even better at AAA: 1.43 ERA, 10.01 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, no HR in 50.1 IP. He came up to Atlanta and flashed his strikeout ability (9.93 K/9) and held his own to a 4.03 ERA/3.78 FIP in 29 IP. He’s already pitched in Atlanta and still has a TOR upside according to almost anyone evaluating him. He was and will continue to be considered a heist for years to come.