Four Added Prospects After Olson Trade (And Update on New Signings)

Before we get into Clint’s new additions to his prospect list, I wanted to quickly sum up more of AA’s additions to Spring Training in the form of Non-Roster Invitees:

  • RHP, R.J. Alaniz: 31 year old righty with a total of 18.1 innings pitched in MLB. Is on a MILB deal and likely stays on it as I cannot see what he’d provide other than emergency depth.
  • RHP, Nick Vincent: 35 year old right that relies on movement because he can’t break glass. He has more success than Alaniz, but one could essentially copy/paste the last sentence from his description.
  • RHP, Brad Brach: 35 year old submariner whose walks are going the wrong way. If it’s a choice between O’Day and Brach, I’m going O’Day all day.
  • UI, Pete Valaika: Classic Utility player with ups and downs at the plate. Potato pie isn’t near as good as sweet potato pie. Meh.
  • UI, Brock Holt: 33 year old that used to be good but now he’s gotten used to being bad. I mean…if I had to choose, he might win. Maybe.
  • UI Phil Gosselin: If you’d have told me Goose is now 33, I’d have slapped you sideways. He’s fine, I guess but I’d like more of a bat if I had to choose.

Final thoughts: I’d rather not have any of these guys on this team, but if you’re forcing my hand, I’d pick Goose. Unless there’s a real emergency, whoever grabs the final bench spot will be the 2nd utility infielder and that’ll grab ya a paycheck, but no real work to speak of.

Might I also remind everyone that AA likes to shop the aisle of recent cuts from other teams and I’m guessing we could see a slightly more exciting player be added before camp ends.

Even though he’s currently on the 40-man roster, Tyler Thornburg is worth discussing. He’s been good at striking out people, but also good at walking people, which isn’t actually good at all. He doesn’t have any options but if he wanted to rediscover what he had in 2016, I wouldn’t complain.

Now…On To Clint!

Last week, the Braves and A’s got together in what’s been perhaps the biggest blockbuster trade in some time. It seems like a win-win deal – Atlanta nets a power-hitting big league first baseman (who also happens to be one of the better defenders in the game) to replace its former franchise player, Freddie Freeman; while Oakland receives four highly-ranked prospects that should provide some help to the major league team in the near future, but also reinforce a farm system that’s been lacking over the last several years.

In case you missed the details of that massive trade, the Braves moved a quartet of Cristian Pache, Shea Langeliers, Joey Estes and Ryan Cusick, and they all ranked in my top 13 with Pache coming in at 2, Langeliers at 3, Estes at 10, and Cusick at 12.

Naturally, now that four prospects have been omitted from my top 35, I must replace them, right? With my next list not set to come out until mid-season, we can’t go several months with four players missing from the rankings. So today I’ve replaced those four top-tier prospects by incorporating four of my top Honorable Mentions from when I constructed my Top 35 back in December. I’ll discuss each of them below, followed by another post that’ll feature the actual updated list.

JDLC wasn’t included in my Top 35 back in December simply because, at the time, he no longer was part of the Braves organization. Heading towards the MLB Rule 5 Draft, Atlanta non tendered the righty in late November, potentially ending his stint in the Braves system. However, as of mid-January, the team re-signed Cruz, and according to several sources the non tendering was simply to make space on the 40-man roster, and the Braves had every intention of bringing the kid back anyways.

And it’s a good thing he’s back too. Despite struggling during his first opportunity at the Triple-A level in 2021 (7.03 ERA in 56 1/3 IP), Cruz is still considered a talented player. His prospect stock may no longer be that of a top-tier starting pitcher, but with his elite two-pitch mix (fastball / slider) still plenty effective, Cruz could make for a damn good multi-inning reliever in the majors. He’s entering his age-25 season, so time has most likely ran out for him as a starter, but as a bullpen option, I believe Cruz should still be considered a ranked prospect in the Braves system. He’ll most likely land somewhere in the 20s on my updated list.

Back in late August of last season (featured in my 2021 Midseason Top 30 List), I had Ramos just barely ranked as a prospect, ranked 30th. Then the outfielder proceeded to only play in four games during the final month of the season, finishing the year with Double-A Mississippi going just 3 for 15 (.200 AVG), appearing to have lost his starting job. Overall, Ramos hit only .183 last year, to go with six home runs — good for a 55 wRC+. And to make matters worse, he struck out a career-high 30% of the time, perhaps suggesting he was a bit in over his head.

However, at just 23-years-old right now, I can’t get over the two seasons prior to 2021, when Ramos hit .243 with 25 homers and 125 RBI in 250 games combined between Single-A and High-A in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Leading up to last season, all signs pointed to him becoming an above-average bat for the Braves, even though the system’s outfield was rather crowded.

We’ll see if Ramos can turn things around in 2022 and get back to the player he was a short time ago. Given the recent prospect turnover, though, I think he just barely fits inside the top-35 on my updated list.

Ambioris Tavarez (SS/3B)

The Braves signed Tavarez back in January of 2021 for $1.5 million, going down as the team’s biggest international signing in several years. However, the 18-year-old hasn’t played stateside since, so there’s still obviously a ton of questions regarding his prospect stock within the system.

Either way, considering the excitement surrounding his signing (per Baseball America, he was the 25th-best player in the 2020-21 class), combined with the lack of depth in the organization up the middle (even though it has improved a bit recently), I imagine Tavarez would fit in somewhere in the top 35 on my updated list (BA has him 26th)

Munoz sort of went viral for a bit last season when he came out of the gate throwing a high-90s fastball versus Single-A batters. In his first four appearances with Augusta, the young righty tallied 24 strikeouts in 17 innings, and he looked like a potential quick riser in the Braves system. However, when the calendar flipped to June, everything went downhill for Munoz, and with an injury mixed in there, the 21-year-old struggled to the tune of 13 earned runs over his final 12 2/3 innings last season, a whopping 9.24 ERA in that span.

Munoz has an electric fastball, and despite his first two pro seasons (both in instructs), he actually appears to have a pretty good handle on it, shown by his 3.3 walks per nine in 2021 — a huge improvement compared to his 2018 and 2019 seasons. Sure, the 6.67 ERA last year is concerning, and Munoz is no doubt a raw prospect, but I believe there’s now enough room for him inside the top-35.

53 thoughts on “Four Added Prospects After Olson Trade (And Update on New Signings)”

  1. Gosselin can play all IF positions, if nec., plus corner OF… so there’s that.

    Just finished this book, “Cheated,” by Andy Martino:
    http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/658290/cheated-by-andy-martino/

    Obviously, most baseball fans know the main facts of the whole Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. But this book goes further & very usefully puts everything into context, current & historical (e.g. – there was a somewhat similar scandal w/ the Phils in 1900 &, of course, there’s the more-famous Bobby Thomson story.)

    Getting to better know the main actors in the Astros camp is pretty crucial to the larger story, and understanding the amoral cut-corners/be-different culture under Astros GM Jeff Luhnow would seem to explain why the Astros took the cheating-via-video thing much, much farther, apparently, than other clubs. Getting background on Hinch, Cora & Beltran also opens up the story for readers. (Why did these guys cheat? How were they so good at it? Why were they allowed to keep doing it?)

    I was particularly interested in what other clubs believed the Astros were doing (things that hadn’t been previously reported), and also was interested in how far along other clubs (like the Yankees & Red Sox) were in using their video room for a shady advantage, as well. It’s all there.

    In the end, the Astros would seem to be, without peer, the most flagrant violators, not just in how far their actions went, but also in how blithely they ignored MLB’s warnings & new rules regarding the use of video. Fact is, they got away with a lot.

    Martino does a terrific job of reporting here & lays bare the whole nasty thing.

  2. On a Tuesday in June of 2015 I drove into town to see the Braves play the Red Sox at Fenway Park. It was early in the season, and the Braves were still flirting with .500. Coming into the bottom of the 8th inning the Braves were down 6-2 and things were looking bleak. I glanced down at my scorebook and noticed that Mookie Betts was a HR short of the cycle, but he was due up 7th so I thought it was unlikely he’d get a chance.

    The Red Sox got a few hits that inning, and I started to wonder if Mookie would get a chance to go for the cycle after all. Eventually Brock Holt hit a 2 out triple to bring Mookie to the plate. Mookie didn’t hit a home run, so I thought that was the end of it. Little did I know that Brock Holt’s triple actually gave him the cycle. That was Brock Holt in 2015. He could hit for the cycle right in front of you and you wouldn’t even notice. It’s not 2015 any more.

  3. Weird week in Atlanta. Matt Ryan is leaving now, as well. Though while I think it’s Freeman’s side that biffed his situation, it’s the Falcons who biffed their situation…to put it mildly.

  4. @4

    The Falcons have managed to even out-Falcon themselves. This is an impressively large clusterf***.

  5. @2–that’s a great story. I remembered Brock Holt as being a decent hitter for a utility infielder type. In checking his stats, that was true through 2019. (His career OPS+ is almost identical to Swanson ‘s.) But his offensive numbers in 2020 and 2021 were abysmal. He’s probably done as a big league hitter, but it’s certainly worth seeing if he is at least as good as Phil Gosselin.

    Is it clear that they need to carry two backup infielders? It’s seems like a waste of a roster spot; the advent of the DH means little need to ever pinch hit. Doesn’t it make sense to keep folks like Goins, Goose, and Holt stocked at AAA and call them up if one of the infielders goes down for more than a couple of games.

  6. Crew, I’m looking for Braves Journalers that can recap for the weekends. Anyone available?

  7. They’re not going to use him much on the weekends, and he’ll probably be injured by May. Maybe he can do weekend recaps.

  8. Alright crew, TFloyd, who might be the best human on this here earth, has volunteered to give up his Tuesdays to Clint and, in turn, grab Fridays. That leaves us with only Saturdays that need recapping. While I’d like to have a steady presence to recap Saturdays, I’ll take what I can get. If you are available to recap some Saturdays, let me know in the thread.

  9. Braves TV coverage, April 7th and thereon…

    Are you all fixed up for the big day and confident you can watch the Braves, never mind the changes…
    What changes? Bally Sports South for one, is out of the picture…when i tried to renew them the other day they told me, emphatically – no sotto voce -‘we don’t ‘do’ / carry the Braves any more…apparently its all to do with Sinclair TV stirring the pot…they are a huge conglomerate who’ve gobbled up a pile of small regional papers and TV stations across the country, the more to control/change their content.

    So, to ask these questions another way, who are Chip and Frenchie working for/not working for this season?

    Finally…I have been a DishTV guy for ever but will apparently have to change(see above) Direct TV just told me they can override Bally just like that and deal direct with me on their Bally package c/w Braves but i must send the money first before the email me the stations i will be getting!

    Help from anyone here would be much appreciated before senility, accelerated by all this, finally kicks in. Thanks.

  10. I’d be more than happy to split half of the Saturday duties with someone. I just can’t commit to the full load.

  11. Y’all, I love this roster. I’m not worried one bit about the back end of the rotation or the backup infielder. This roster is loaded, and AA has done an incredible job.

    I mean, this dadgum pitching staff:

    Starters
    Morton
    Fried
    Anderson
    Ynoa
    Wright
    Davidson
    Muller
    Touki

    Pen
    Jansen
    Smith
    Matzek
    Minter
    McHugh
    Jackson
    Strider
    Newcomb
    Lee
    Webb

    Now, some reliever’s arm’s going to fall off after what they went through last year. No doubt in my mind that with the shorter ST and the hell they went through that one of the relievers are not going to be effective. So that depth will take a hit. But they have 8 starting pitchers, 4 of which that are fighting over 2 spots, and those 4 have had big league success at times. The pen is loaded, and there are tons of guys with options. Snit has a ton of flexibility with how to handle this staff. I’m excited. LFG.

  12. Triple post:

    I’ve done a full 180 on DOB. I definitely can’t hold it against the guy that he’s an asshole on Twitter because he doesn’t know how to deal with morons because I’m the same way, and I don’t have a quarter of the interactions with morons that he does in his job. But him and EOF are great on their podcast, and unless Three Flags Flying fires back up (though I do enjoy the Twitter spaces, Ryno), then I think 755 Is Real is my favorite Braves podcast.

  13. Blazon, are you able to watch MLB.tv? Or are you in their blackout area?

  14. Per this article https://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-braves/fans-unhappy-braves-telecasts-still-missing-from-some-tv-providers/QF3MOTMCKFHAHKMAFU5K2UUDFQ/ DirectTVStream (formerly AT&T) carries Bally. But AAR is right as long as you don’t live in the Braves blackout area: MLB.TV ($109 for the year, or $129 for every team) is the way to go. You’ll need some kind of box on your TV (Roku, Shield) to do the streaming unless you want to watch on a computer or phone. It might be easier to switch TV providers from Dish at the same time, but I think you can go from Dish into a Roku or Shield as well.

  15. Alright crew, here is our star-studded lineup of recappers this year:

    Sundays: Leading off for your Braves Journal Grybos, Number 21, NICK!
    Mondays: Batting 2nd, Number 1, Alex R!
    Tuesdays: Batting 3rd, Number 36, Clint Manry!
    Wednesdays: Batting 4th, Number…I truly forgot (help me remember this one).
    Thursdays: Batting 5th, Number 99, Jonathan F!
    Fridays: Batting 6th, Number 22, TFloyd!
    Saturdays: Batting 7th, Number 0, I HAVEN’T THE FOGGIEST (still open)

  16. I’ll take any Saturday after a Thursday offday. At my age, I can’t work on two days’ rest.

  17. So that gives me (in addition to Thursdays) 4/23, 5/7, 5/14, 5/21, 6/18, 7/23, 7/30, 8/13, 8/27, 9/10, 9/17, 10/1

  18. Just bought my first tickets since 2020. Star Wars Day (“May the 4th”) at Citi Field. (Actually I had a voucher from May 2020 that I used, so the tickets were under $10.)

  19. @ 18 and 19

    Gentlemen,

    You have made my day, relief is pouring all over me. Just called them, MLBtv. Ironically, I was aware they had just auto renewed me after the lock out was over, I have been a paid up member for ever it seems.

    I knew all that of course but what I had erroneously believed all these years was the only Braves games they showed were the MOD ones which mathematically were a rara avis and useless for an unemployed avid fan. I thought everyday Braves games were dependent on getting in with the regional sports networks which i did ab initio. These ended with Fox Sports South then Bally then none. That’s when i hit the wall.

    What I have to do now they told me is update my tv along the lines you told me, it is not smart, like me. To celebrate I shall not go Roku, but rather a new 87 inch hi-tech wizzo, to replace my current 80 inch old boy. Like a kid, excited. Thus the latin/french isms, joie de vivre. And yes, i will have the same blackout area for the same three teams as before – cinci, pirates, cleveland, i can just about live with that. All i have to do now is email my wife, currently cruising with her sister somewhere off Aruba, telling her the plan, taking care to attempt to somewhat minimise not maximise one particular feature. However, OLED it shall be – my eyes, you know

    Gentlemen, I am deeply grateful to you both. Sometimes in life the biggest problems have the simplest solutions. In this case I needed to be shown just that.

    Thank you both.

  20. MLB Top Ten Right Now series lists Colin McHugh as the 6th best reliever in baseball, according to their “Shredder”.

    Sarah Lang has Lukey 8th.

  21. If I read BRef correctly, 2022 will be the 26th season out of the last 27 (starting in 1996) that the Braves have had at least one player from Curacao. Andruw, Randall Simon, Jair Jurrjens, Andrelton, Ozzie, and now Jansen are the ones I can think of. 2016 was the only year without a Curacao native, and Ozzie was in AAA part of that year. Seems like Curacao natives on the Braves might have accumulated more WAR than Curacao natives playing for all other teams combined.

  22. You can also hear AA on the Starkville podcast (free) which I presume was the basis for the article.

  23. Arbitration numbers:

    Duvall — 10.275 vs. 9.275 (+1)
    Fried — 6.85 vs. 6.6 (+0.25)
    Riley — 4.2 vs. 3.95 (+0.25)
    Swanson — 10 vs. 9.2 (+0.8)
    Jackson — 4 vs. 3.6 (+0.4)

    Total difference: $2,700,000

    I really don’t understand the approach to arbitration. Was Fried’s G6 performance not worth $250,000?

  24. $2.7M is not nothing. $2.7M and a low-A RHP will get Zack Greinke at the deadline for the stretch run and postseason.

    The biggest gap being Swanson is certainly a sign that this is Dansby’s last season in Atlanta. Excel has an axe to grind with AA, and Dansby is gonna end up in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee or some terrible place. Wouldn’t surprise me if Dansby is even traded at the deadline.

  25. @37. File #’s and negotiating #’s aren’t always the same. A player may lower their ask a bit if they think it gives them a better chance to win in arbitration. Ditto team offers going up.

  26. Correa, Trea Turner, Bogaerts, Tim Anderson, and Swanson will be the top five shortstops on the market next winter. Swanson is far and away the lesser of those five.

    Dansby has 8.8 WAR for his career. Javy Baez had 23.4 WAR and got $23.3MM AAV this winter.

    Swanson is not a $20MM shortstop. Unless he really flips a switch this summer, his ceiling is $13-15MM AAV if I were a GM. Dansby will be 29 on opening day next year, so a six year deal is definitely the max you’d want to go. If I were the Braves, I’d probably do 6/$80. You can do far worse than Dansby at SS.

    I think he’s certain to test free agency and it’s probably similar to Freddie. They’d like him back, but they’ll make their offer and not budge much from it. Dansby’s rep being the same as FF’s probably doesn’t bode well for the Braves.

  27. Man, I hope Ozuna doesn’t log many innings in LF this year. He just botched an easy one hopper single in todays game. He also is not very mobile. Hard to imagine he used to be a centerfielder!

  28. @44: Nonsense. Everyone knows his most similar player is Charlie Culberson. (With Brandon Shewmake just behind.)

  29. Brandon Shewmake is Braden’s brother… or it’s what I’m going with for screwing up his name.

  30. @44 You’re citing only Swanson’s similarity for career stat line which is of little use for a guy who just turned 28. Similar batters through Age 27 results in a list of guys who were somewhere between MLB regulars and occasionally stars:

    Similar Batters through 27
    Marcus Semien (974.7)*
    J.J. Hardy (966.0)
    Alex Gonzalez (954.1)
    Alex Gonzalez (954.0)**
    Didi Gregorius (949.2)
    Miguel Tejada (946.2)
    Khalil Greene (942.7)
    Shawon Dunston (940.8)
    Juan Uribe (939.6)
    Orlando Cabrera (938.8)

    *Marcus Semien had his big breakout season in 2019, at age 28
    ** Yes, those are two different dudes named Alex Gonzalez who, in addition to having the same name, had very similar stat lines.

    I suspect it would take 6/$100M to extend Dansby and I doubt the Braves would give it to him (and I’m not sold on wanting to give him that). The real problem is that the Braves have failed to internally develop a replacement SS so we’re probably looking at paying FA prices for one if we don’t resign Dansby.

  31. Listening to AA at the game right now, sounds like he sees Wright and Ynoa starting in the rotation right now.

  32. Dansby, at some point in the next few years, will probably be a top 10 SS per WAR. He’s a very good player. But there’s clearly some issue between Dansby and the org. And it could be as simple as who Dansby is represented by.

  33. Wright was pretty good today. I’d live with that until it goes bad (or doesn’t).

    @48 or bridge the time until Grissom is ready

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