The Atlanta Braves season has been full of moving parts, as the team continues to build towards the future. GM John Hart has been extremely busy reshaping the organization since taking over this off-season.
So far, he has made a complete 120 transactions during this season and that is after entering August. Hart has done wonders restocking the Braves farm system with many young arms. Some of those include Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, Matt Wisler, and Mike Foltynewicz.
The key to any organization is pitching and Hart has bolstered a farm system that was ranked in the bottom third of major league baseball and in time transformed it into a top 10 if not top five system in a matter of months. No doubt a painful process for fans, even with a prolonged experience of wait. The way that John Hart is working things within the organization, mainly retooling from the ground up. In the coming years, the Braves take form of a new image and take flight in the right direction.
A glance over the recent moves
This past week was another whirlwind for the players within the Braves organization as the team traded veterans Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the New York Mets for once again young pitching. It was understood at the beginning of the season that veteran players were probably going to be moved at some point due to the rebuilding mentality the Braves took stock in from the start.
A little bit more of shocking move was when the Braves and Dodgers pulled off a 13-player blockbuster trade. The large trade included sending Atlanta’s Alex Wood, Luis Avilán, Jim Jonson and top prospect José Peraza to Los Angeles for highly touted Cuban prospect 3rd baseman Hector Olivera and left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez back in return. When this move first went down, many of the Braves faithful felt upset. In retrospect, the unsettling was for good reason, the Braves basically gave up on 24-year-old Wood who was under team control until 2020.
However, amidst the send off over key pitching prospects. The one thing that the Braves currently are lacking is a feared hitter to protect Freddie Freeman in the lineup. The team hopes Olivera will be able to take over the top of Braves order in the near future. Olivera is hitting .348 with a .392 OBP through 19 minor league games. Hopefully, in the Braves mindset this translates to big league success as the earliest as next season.
The potential downgrade in fact of putting him onto the Braves 40 man roster next season will be that he is already 30 years old. Considering Olivera was a groomed prospect a little bit later, the age of 30 makes his big-league journey very much unique, yet his ceiling like many Cuban born players remains unchanged.
The effects of the blockbuster deal won’t impact for at least five years down the road because all of these players are continuing to develop. On paper, it seems the Braves gave up a ton for a hitting prospect, but you can afford to gamble when you’ve stockpiled as much young pitching as the Braves have.
For an organization like the Braves, that weren’t completely satisfied over the progression that young pitcher Alex Wood had made. The Braves best move to make was to step up and land a big time hitter for the future. For what is was worth, Wood possessed funky mechanics and was said to have lost 2 mph of velocity on his sinker so letting go might have been the best option. It’s best to sell high on a pitcher that you feel might never live up to the potential that the team had previously set out.
The reality is hitters such as Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Mike Trout don’t grow on trees. When the opportunity presents itself to acquire a hitter you think could be a cornerstone in your organization you take it and run with it.
In the form of rebuild, the moves made has been very proactive and makes a ton of sense. The few pieces that the Braves were able to salvage are strong enough to build around. Shelby Miller, Freddie Freeman, Andrelten Simmons, Cameron Maybin and veteran Nick Markakis creates financial flexibility for Atlanta to be able to sign and acquire dependable hitters to surround young pitching that have been groomed.
The short-term plans may be difficult to unfold, but the way their roster is constructed for the coming years provides promise with the current moves they’ve recently administered.