ATLANTA -- Alex Anthopoulos' first two transactions as the Braves' general manager were influenced by the familiarity he gained with the Dodgers' bullpen as he spent the past two years serving as Los Angeles' vice president of baseball operations.The Braves claimed left-handed reliever Grant Dayton off waivers from the Dodgers
ATLANTA -- Alex Anthopoulos' first two transactions as the Braves' general manager were influenced by the familiarity he gained with the Dodgers' bullpen as he spent the past two years serving as Los Angeles' vice president of baseball operations.
The Braves claimed left-handed reliever Grant Dayton off waivers from the Dodgers on Monday night and later announced right-handed reliever Josh Ravin had been acquired from Los Angeles for cash considerations. These two hurlers joined left-handed pitchers Adam McCreery and Ricardo Sanchez as the latest additions to the Braves' 40-man roster. McCreery and Sanchez were added ahead of Monday's deadline for all MLB teams to announce which eligible prospects would be protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
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Dayton underwent Tommy John surgery in August and thus will likely miss most if not all of the 2018 season. The 29-year-old Alabama native posted a 2.05 ERA as he made the first 25 appearances of his career last year. He opened this season with eight consecutive scoreless appearances and then began to struggle just before being placed on the disabled list in May. He pitched effectively throughout June, but he was sidelined again in July and never returned to Los Angeles' bullpen.
Ravin has produced a 5.05 ERA over 33 career relief appearances. The 29-year-old constructed a 6.48 ERA while making a career-high 14 appearances this year.
The most notable Braves prospects left unprotected were outfielder Dustin Peterson and second baseman Travis Demeritte. While there's a chance both could draw interest from other clubs, it's far from a guarantee a club would be willing to assume the accompanying requirement to carry either of them on a Major League roster over the entirety of next season.
This year's Rule 5 Draft will be held on Dec. 14 at the conclusion of MLB's annual Winter Meetings. Players selected must remain on the selecting club's active roster over the entirety of the following season or be offered back to the previous club for half of the $50,000 selection price.
It is often more feasible for a team to keep a pitcher taken in the Rule 5 Draft because of the option to stash the selected player in the bullpen over an entire season. Now that most clubs are often using eight-man bullpens, it will be even harder for teams to justify using a bench spot on a position player taken via the Rule 5 Draft.
MLBPipeline.com ranks Demeritte as the 13th-best prospect within the Braves organization. Peterson is ranked 15th and Sanchez is considered the 23rd-best prospect within Atlanta's talent-rich system.
McCreery has never been considered a top prospect, but the late bloomer proved effective enough this year to warrant the need for protection. The 6-foot-8, 195-pound right-hander produced a 2.74 ERA while recording 90 strikeouts and issuing 38 walks over the 62 1/3 innings combined between Class A Rome and Class A Advanced Florida this year.
Sanchez produced a 4.95 ERA, surrendered 117 hits and recorded 100 strikeouts while issuing 46 walks over 100 innings for Florida this year. The 20-year-old has struggled with his command, issuing 4.1 walks per nine innings both of the past two seasons. But he still has an attractive upside that might lead a team to add him to a bullpen over the entirety of next season.
Peterson would have likely made his Major League debut this year had he not broke his left hamate bone in Spring Training. The 23-year-old outfielder battled the lingering effects of this often-bothersome injury while hitting .248 with just one homer and a .636 OPS over 346 plate appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett. He batted .282 with 12 homers and a .774 OPS over 578 plate appearances for Double-A Mississippi in 2016.
Demeritte hit at least 25 homers in two of his first three full Minor League seasons and then added 15 more homers this year along with a .231 average and a .708 OPS for Mississippi. He has created some concern as he has struck out once every 2.7 at-bats over the course of his four full Minor League seasons.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.