Ramirez was not thought of much at the time, not even after his first stint with Atlanta, but he finished the second half of 2016 strong and figures to play a role in the 2017 bullpen. He has an above-average fastball, and he was essentially acquired for nothing.
Barker had a strong 8 start stretch in the early part of 2016, and the Braves capitalized on that by packaging him up with Brian Matusz’s contract to land a competitive balance B pick that would later turn into Brett Cumberland, a college catcher who is currently the Braves’ 29th-best prospect on Pipeline.
After Kelly’s third stint with the Braves, they traded him to the Mets for a second time for Morris, who is a solid relief prospect for Atlanta. He’s currently the 25th-best prospect according to Pipeline, and could have a spot in Atlanta’s bullpen as early as 2017.
Norris, after a terrible start in the rotation, had a strong rebound as a swingman, and the Braves got two relief prospects along with dumping Toscano’s salary. This was the second Dirks transaction, as the Braves traded him the year previous for international pool money.
Alvarez and Harrell were two classic flashes in the pan, the second of whom had been without a team two months before, and in return, the Braves received a legitimate second-base prospect with a plus tool (power). Demeritte is now the 9th-best prospect on Pipeline. He currently strikes out too much, but if his K rate improves, he could become a major piece of Atlanta’s future.
Cervenka, a below the radar signee out of a Texas independent league, had a strong 2/3 of the season as a mostly lefty specialist. Anfernee Seymour has a plus tool (speed) and is the 20th-best prospect in the system. Mader is an interesting lefty starter who pitched well in brief duty at AA. If the Braves didn’t have several strong lefty starting pitching prospects, Mader would be getting more attention. He’s a sleeper in Atlanta’s deep system.
The forgettable Aybar experiment ended with the Braves getting a catching prospect and salary dump in return. Scivicque has a good reputation as a defensive catcher who is still getting his bat going. Scivicque could have a career as a backup catcher.
The Braves would have gone into 2017 with several question marks in the rotation. To mitigate that risk, they acquired three veteran starting pitchers. But left with several high-minors pitching prospects with low ceilings and not enough opportunity, they decided to consolidate by getting former first round pick and top prospect Alex Jackson. His bat and career stalled as he was moved to the outfield, and the Braves hope that a change of scenery and a move back to catcher, his original position, will both revive his career and the Braves’ minor league catching situation. Povse and Whalen largely didn’t have a future in Atlanta, but Jackson does if he can prove he can handle it.
More pitching consolidation as the Braves packaged more low-ceiling pitching talent to help the major league roster and better use the glut of pitching they acquired. Dykstra is the interesting, forgotten player in this deal, and he could be a utility player one day. Garcia solves the need for consistency (and a lefty starter) for the Braves’ 2017 team.
Jenkins was another pitcher who had lost his spot in Atlanta, and with the Braves wanting more high-upside prospects, they took back Luke Jackson, who possesses an above-average heater and the potential to stick in Atlanta’s bullpen.
Mallex Smith, a fan favorite and believed by lunatics to have the ceiling of Rock Raines, was largely void of a regular spot on Atlanta’s roster, so the Braves continued to collect high-ceiling pitching prospects by getting one of Seattle’s top prospects in Gohara. Keith Law declared Gohara one of his top 100 prospects, and Burrows appears to be an interesting lefty bullpen prospect who could rise quickly. Simmons, who was once considered a top prospect, could never stay healthy enough to earn the confidence of Atlanta. Mallex was later traded again to Tampa Bay.
In an effort to replace Mallex Smith, who had appeared to be on track to be the 4th outfielder in 2017, they received Micah Johnson, a speedy left-hander who can hit righties and play second base and centerfield. With a proposed 4-man bench, Johnson’s versatility could make an ideal backup for Inciarte while providing more flexibility than Mallex could have.