Well January sucked for the Braves. And with free agents being gobbled up by the dozens while Anthopoulos is on a spending cleanse, the Braves have made some signings. Well, at least Minor League ones. And they’ve made a few 40-man claims. As was with the Tyler Matzek signing, the Braves look to be attempting to catch lightning in a bottle with a few castoffs that have had promising numbers in the past.
Ehire Adrianza: While Adrianza isn’t known for his bat, his glove skills are elite. He’s a switch hitter that doesn’t kill you at the plate, but likely wouldn’t be used as a hitter unless absolutely necessary. If the Braves cut ties with Johan Camargo, or they feel like Johan cannot cover SS in a pinch off the bench, Adrianza could get a shot as the backup utility infielder.
Kyle Garlick– At 29, he’s no spring chicken, but he can still hit and has a career .881 OPS in the minors. In 2019, he combined for 26 HRs (23 at AAA, 3 in MLB) in 357 PAs. He’s heavy on launch angle and as a LHH, that could play well at Truist. He’s got a bit of a Joc Pederson vibe and maybe the Braves have picked up on it. He’s on the 40-man and still has an option, so maybe will see if he can make an impact at the MLB level.
Victor Arano– It was August of 2018 when Fangraphs dropped this piece dedicated to Arano and his slider and fastball combo. Unfortunately, 2019 wasn’t kind to Arano and he sat most of the year after non-TJ elbow surgery. 2020 didn’t bode well either and apparently his environment in his home country was not ideal for his recovery. Now, nearly 2 years removed from throwing a pitch in the MLB, he’ll be given a shot in spring to prove himself on the Braves squad after the Phillies DFA’d him in the early offseason.
Carl Edwards Jr.– There was a time when CEJ was one of the more exciting relievers in the game with 3 great years with the Cubs pitching a total of 154.1 innings of 3.03 ERA baseball with 4.9BB/9 and 12.4 K/9. A forearm strain limited his time in 2020, but reports on his stuff were good even with a lower velo. With the Braves lacking RH bullpen arms, both Edwards and Arano have a good chance of cracking the roster.
Jaycob Brugman– Let’s let Bob Melvin get the cliches out of the way: “he’s a gamer, sticks his nose in there, has tough at-bats, gets big hits, understands how to play center field”. Those were the words dropped on Brugman in spring training of 2017 with the Athletics. And while he didn’t get the call right away, he did in June and held his own, especially after adjusting to MLB pitching. Unfortunately his MLB time ended in 2017 and he’s spent the last few down in the minors. Like so many others, Brugman had a huge spike in power at AAA in 2019, drilling 24 HRs in 339 PAs. He’s a capable OFer that can play all OF positions. Is the power real? Did increasing launch angle unlock something for him that it did for others? Maybe. I wouldn’t bet on it…. but maybe.
Picks to Click
If I had to pick 2 players that I think could make the MLB club and make an impact, I think those 2 are Garlick and Edwards Jr. Both definitely have the potential to be Major Leaguers with sticking power, Garlick as a platoon partner in LF and Edwards Jr. as a 6th/7th inning bullpen arm.