Sanchez, McCreery Added to 40-Man Roster, Dayton Claimed From Dodgers
Today was the deadline for major league teams to add players eligible to be acquired in next month’s Rule V draft to the 40-man roster to protect them from potentially being taken. With four open spots on the roster, the Braves elected to add two prospects and claim a third player off waivers, leaving one spot open for now.
Also added was left-handed reliever Adam McCreery, a left-handed relief pitcher who posted a 2.64 ERA/3.18 FIP in 30.2 innings between class A Rome and A+ Florida.
Left-handed reliever Grant Dayton was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dayton had a successful major league debut season in 2016, pitching to a 2.05 ERA/2.96 FIP while striking out 39 in 26.1 innings. His performance was less spectacular in 2017, pitching to a 4.94 ERA/5.74 FIP before tearing his UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery. Look for Dayton to be placed on the 60-man DL when rosters are finalized this spring.
Left unproctected were outfielder Dustin Peterson and infielder Travis Demeritte. Peterson suffered a broken hamate bone in spring training last year which essentially ruined his 2017 season, but was named as the Player of the Year by the organization in 2016 after a successful AA campaign. Demeritte is a plus defender at second base and third base and a power threat, but has poor pitch recognition that has lead to a propensity to strike out over his career.
Left off the 40-man roster and now eligible for drafting by other teams include relievers Caleb Dirk, Jacob Webb, and Wes Parsons, outfielder Ray-Patrick Didder, and left-handed starter Tyler Pike. Didder and Pike were OFR’s #46 and #40 prospects respectively.
MLB Sanctions Announcement Likely This Week
The long-anticipated announcement of MLB sanctions against Atlanta is likely to occur this week according to multiple local and national baseball journalists. The sanctions are due to violations of rules around the acquisition of amateur international talent, which lead to the resignations of general manager John Coppolella and director of international scouting Gordon Blakeley in October and president of baseball operations John Hart last week.
OFR will provide analysis and opinion shortly after the announcement.
Ronald Acuña Named MVP of Arizona Fall League
Top Braves prospect Ronald Acuña hit .325/.414/.639 and lead the AFL in home runs (7) and runs scored (22) and finished second in OPS and slugging. This was enough for the 19-year-old to be named as Most Valuable Player for this season. Acuña celebrated by knocking in 4 runs for the Peoria Javelinas in their League Championship win over Mesa to wrap up the season.
Austin Riley batted 3rd and played 3rd in that game as well, finishing up a breakout campaign himself. Riley batted .300/.364/.657, finishing second to Acuña with 6 home runs and first in slugging. Riley also got strong marks for his defensive play at third base.
"Austin Riley can't play 3rd base" pic.twitter.com/3TNX0I7ok4
— Cody (@bravescody) November 18, 2017
Left-hander Max Fried ended up with a 1.73 ERA in 6 starts, striking out 32 batters in 26 innings, and was widely seen as the strongest pitcher in the league. Fried will try to use his performance as a springboard to lock down a rotation spot in Atlanta this spring.
Cumberland Down Under
Acuña jump-started his 2017 with an off-season stint with the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League. Acuña’s play so impressed his teammates that they nicknamed him “The Answer To Everything”.
This season Braves catching prospect Brett Cumberland will hope for similar results with the Aces. It’s been so far so good for Cumberland as he’s gone 5-for-14 with a home run and two doubles in four games, including two starts. Interestingly, both starts have come in right field, a position he did not play at all in the 2017 minor league season but would certainly have the athleticism to play.
Cumberland isn’t the only player with Braves connections on the Aces. Current Braves farmhand Jon Kennedy, a native Australian, will pitch for the Aces for the fifth consecutive season. He’ll be joined in the bullpen by former Braves Peter Moylan and Matt Marksberry.
Check in with OFR later this week for Cumberland’s entry in the Fifty Prospects in Fifty Days series.
Chipper and Andruw Jones Lead 1st-Timers on Hall of Fame Ballot
The Hall of Fame committee came out with their 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot. As expected, Braves All-Timers Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones highlight the class of newcomers that also include hitters Jim Thome, Scott Rolen, Carlos Lee, Johnny Damon, and Omar Vizquel and pitchers Johan Santana, Chris Carpenter, Kerry Wood, and former Brave Kevin Millwood.
Look for more opinion and analysis of the Hall of Fame vote here on OFR over the next month. Ballots are due from voters by December 31 with the vote announcement on January 24.
Spring Training Schedule Announced
MLB came out with the spring training exhibition schedule today for all teams including the Braves. The team will begin Grapefruit League action on February 23, 2018 against the Mets in Port St. Lucie and conclude on March 25 against the Tigets. The regular season starts March 29 at SunTrust Park against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pitchers and catchers are required to report to camp by February 13 (happy Valentine’s Day guys), with position players on February 18.
This will be the final Braves spring training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in central Florida. The Braves plan to move into a brand new complex in Sarasota County before the 2019 offseason.
News, Rumors, and Innuendo
- Congrats to Braves outfielder Lane Adams, who announced his engagement Ms. Bailee Cartwright.
- Former Braves catcher Brian McCann hosted his annual celebrity softball game in Atlanta this week to benefit the Rally Foundation. The newly-minted World Champion Astro made it clear that if he had his way, he’d retire as a Brave.
- Gabe Burns of the AJC had a good two–part look at new Braves GM Alex Anthropolous.
- National baseball writer Peter Gammons reports from a Braves source that the team expects to lose the rights to 17-year-old infielder Kevin Maitan as part of the sanctions against the team, but that “the new order Braves are not concerned, feeling Maitan was no [sic] worth the money or the hype.” He also indicated that an “Asian infielder”, presumed to be Jihwan Bae, had a handshake agreement to sign for the maximum $300,000 bonus allowed the team while under penalty for going over international bonus limits the prior signing season and receive another $300,000 under the table in 2018.
- Both Maitan and catching prospect Abrahan Gutierrez will play winter ball this season in Panama.