Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Atlanta Braves
news

Braves Pipeline

Inbox: Where are Braves in Realmuto sweeps?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman fields fans' questions
MLB.com

With pitchers and catchers reporting soon, when do you see the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes coming to an end?
-- @myothatwitta

Whatever happens, it seems safe to say the Marlins have already overplayed their hand in an attempt to make up for what was not gained via last year's trades of Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. My expectation is the return for Realmuto will not equal what Miami would have received had it dealt him in July or during the early portion of this offseason.

With pitchers and catchers reporting soon, when do you see the J.T. Realmuto sweepstakes coming to an end?
-- @myothatwitta

Whatever happens, it seems safe to say the Marlins have already overplayed their hand in an attempt to make up for what was not gained via last year's trades of Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. My expectation is the return for Realmuto will not equal what Miami would have received had it dealt him in July or during the early portion of this offseason.

From the Braves' perspective, little has changed over the past six weeks. They've continued to check in to see if the cost has dropped or at least reached a point where it wouldn't include parting ways with a controllable everyday asset such as Ozzie Albies. Neither side has blinked and from my understanding, the two teams have not shared serious discussions since the first or second day of the Winter Meetings.

:: Submit a question to the Braves Inbox ::

Will the Braves ever spend like they aren't in a tiny market?
-- @thewrighttake

Sometimes when you spend just to spend, you end up with Kenshin Kawakami and two too many years of Derek Lowe.

When evaluating this offseason four or five years from now, the focus will not be on the dollars spent. Instead, it will be on what was gained or lost by not committing to the years many of the free agents sought. The Braves made it clear from the start of the offseason they were not interested in the long-term investment that would be tied to Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Nor were they going to make the long-term commitment Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel sought during the early portion of the offseason. The Phillies valued Andrew McCutchen (three years, $50 million) much higher than the Braves, whose top outfield target seemed to be Michael Brantley. Even at dollar for dollar, the Braves couldn't necessarily match the Astros, who provide Brantley a chance to occasionally be a designated hitter and avoid having to pay state income tax.

If simply focusing on 2019, the Braves do have the financial flexibility necessary to address needs. One of their primary needs is to land a front-line starter. But if some of the internal assets develop, this may not necessarily look like a glaring need next year. If you commit to the final three years on Corey Kluber's deal, then you'd find yourself with a good problem next year. But he doesn't seem like he was ever truly available, and Keuchel's market has not dropped into Atlanta's comfort zone.

How much financial flexibility the Braves have next offseason will be significantly influenced by whether Josh Donaldson becomes a multiyear fit. Other potential free agents are Julio Teheran, Brian McCann, Tyler Flowers, Darren O'Day, Nick Markakis, Arodys Vizcaino and Jonny Venters. You also have to account for the likelihood of having at least six players gain raises via arbitration.

Though Donaldson received a record one-year deal ($23 million), I can understand why many are still hoping for more, especially since Markakis returned for a $4 million salary. But if time proves the cards weren't right this year, many of these same fans will likely be happy to have a chance to be players with the next draw.

If you were running the Braves and were evaluating trade options for Realmuto (or any other high-profile player), what Braves prospect would you absolutely not want to part with in a trade? Ian Anderson? Kyle Wright? Cristian Pache? Austin Riley? Touki Toussaint?
-- @JohnWick38104

I'm going to stick with Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. being the only true untouchables within the organization. But if forced to add two more from this list, I'll go with Anderson and Wright. Pache's limited sample size of power is a concern, but because he's just 20 years old and is already considered an elite defender, I'll say he's the next closest member of this group to being deemed untouchable. Riley's strikeout rate and Toussaint's walk rate create concerns about their respective long-term values.

Do you honestly see McCann and Flowers combining to give the Braves 162 games behind the plate?
-- @JBLittle3

Flowers served as the Braves' starting catcher for 69 of the 137 regular-season games remaining after he returned from the disabled list. This was equal to a pace of 81 starts. McCann logged 94 starts as the Astros' catcher in 2017. Both are older than 30, and McCann is less than a year removed from having his right knee repaired. But regardless of age or recent healthy history, Atlanta needs to gain more insurance at this position with the depth that will exist at the Triple-A level. They've expressed interest in Devin Mesoraco, but he is seeking the chance to begin the season at the Major League level. As things stand, the insurance at Gwinnett will consist of Raffy Lopez and Alex Jackson.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ian Anderson, Tyler Flowers, Brian McCann, Cristian Pache, Kyle Wright

Soroka ready to move on from 2018 injuries

Right-hander made five starts as rookie while dealing with shoulder discomfort
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Though Mike Soroka remains one of baseball's top overall prospects, he no longer possesses the blissful innocence that evaporated when a maddening shoulder ailment robbed him of what had the makings to be a very memorable debut season.

"You always wrote off injuries because you're naive and think just because you eat properly and work out, you're going to stay away from injuries," Soroka said. "That's not how it is. You learn that pretty quickly."

ATLANTA -- Though Mike Soroka remains one of baseball's top overall prospects, he no longer possesses the blissful innocence that evaporated when a maddening shoulder ailment robbed him of what had the makings to be a very memorable debut season.

"You always wrote off injuries because you're naive and think just because you eat properly and work out, you're going to stay away from injuries," Soroka said. "That's not how it is. You learn that pretty quickly."

When MLB Pipeline released its 2019 rankings on Saturday, Soroka remained the top prospect in the Braves' talent-rich system. The 21-year-old hurler also ranked as game's No. 24 overall prospect and No. 6 right-handed pitching prospect. Now, he must simply prove he has distanced himself from an injury that seemingly stemmed from personal physical development.

"It was about being able to move my scapula properly," Soroka said. "I had some muscles that were overactive and some others that were underactive. It wasn't so much about arm action or anything like that. It was more of an issue of just being able to move properly."

• Braves' Top 30 prospects

Soroka limited the Mets to one earned run over six innings during his Major League debut on May 1. But after making just two more starts, he missed a month because of what were the first signs of shoulder discomfort. He limited the Mets to one hit over 6 1/3 scoreless innings on June 13, but the Canadian hurler's season ended one week later, when a sore shoulder tarnished his first start in his native country against the Blue Jays.

Video: NYM@ATL: Soroka flirts with no-no in return from DL

Multiple MRIs showed no sign of structural damage, but instead of rushing the then-20-year-old back to the mound, the Braves instead allowed him time to get healthy and get a better feel for the stretching and maintenance exercises he'll likely need throughout the rest of his career.

Although there were some discussions about the possibility of having Soroka pitching out of Atlanta's bullpen in September and potentially in the postseason, the Braves stuck to their cautious approach.

Consequently, as Soroka spent the final weeks of the season working out at the Spring Training facility, his close friends Touki Toussaint and Max Fried were earning their spots on Atlanta's National League Division Series roster.

"I've been watching them succeed for the past three or four years in the Minor Leagues," Soroka said. "To see your friends do that is special, as well. It was definitely a little bittersweet being in Orlando and having to watch on TV. You want to be there and you want to be helping the club. But when you go down like that, when you come back it just makes it that much sweeter."

Looking toward the upcoming season, if healthy, Soroka is a lock to spend some time in Atlanta's starting rotation. But the Braves will likely limit his early-season workload while using him, Toussaint, Fried and possibly a couple other prospects to alternately fill their fifth rotation spot. This means the members of this group will be flipped between the Majors and Triple-A Gwinnett as the Braves attempt to give all of their starters an extra day of rest between starts.

"It's about approaching it day to day," Soroka said. "If you do your job and take care of business on your end, things will work themselves out. A lot of us have grown up to be best friends and guys we're going to talk to for the rest of our lives. Healthy competition is always good because it brings out the best in everyone."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Mike Soroka

8 Braves named to Top 100 Prospects list

Soroka (No. 24) leads group that includes 4 right-handed pitchers
MLB.com

As the Braves look to defend their National League East crown in 2019, they not only have a strong group in their starting lineup, but several promising prospects in their farm system. Atlanta has eight players on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, revealed Saturday night on MLB Network. The only team with more is the Padres (10).

Mike Soroka (No. 24) Kyle Wright (No. 30), Ian Anderson (No. 32), Cristian Pache (No. 37), Austin Riley (No. 38), Touki Toussaint (No. 50), Bryse Wilson (No. 82) and Drew Waters (No. 86) make up the Braves' contingent, a group heavy on pitchers as Atlanta looks ahead in hopes of returning to the pitching-dominant ways that led it to so much success in the 1990s.

As the Braves look to defend their National League East crown in 2019, they not only have a strong group in their starting lineup, but several promising prospects in their farm system. Atlanta has eight players on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, revealed Saturday night on MLB Network. The only team with more is the Padres (10).

Mike Soroka (No. 24) Kyle Wright (No. 30), Ian Anderson (No. 32), Cristian Pache (No. 37), Austin Riley (No. 38), Touki Toussaint (No. 50), Bryse Wilson (No. 82) and Drew Waters (No. 86) make up the Braves' contingent, a group heavy on pitchers as Atlanta looks ahead in hopes of returning to the pitching-dominant ways that led it to so much success in the 1990s.

:: Complete 2019 Top 100 Prospects coverage ::

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2019 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Soroka, Wright, Anderson and Toussaint are all right-handed pitchers. Soroka, 21, was impressive in five starts for the Braves in 2018, turning in a 3.51 ERA before a shoulder injury ended his season. Atlanta selected him No. 28 overall in the '15 Draft, and he has proven to be a good investment to this point, with the highest potential floor of any of the pitchers in the Braves' system.

Wright, 23, also made his big league debut last year, and in four September relief appearances, he posted a 4.50 ERA. In 27 appearances (24 starts) between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, he posted a 3.91 ERA with 133 strikeouts and 51 walks in 138 innings. Atlanta selected him No. 5 overall in the 2017 Draft, and he's moved rapidly through the farm system, projecting to be a future frontline starter.

Anderson, 20, was picked No. 3 overall by Atlanta in the 2016 Draft. Like Soroka and Wright, Anderson has moved through the system quickly, pitching well at every level along the way. Last season, he finished with a 2.49 ERA over 24 starts between Class A Advanced Florida (20 starts) and Double-A Mississippi (four). With a much-improved changeup, Anderson's ceiling is also high, and he could be a stalwart in the front half of the Braves' rotation in the years to come.

The Braves acquired Toussaint in a 2015 trade with the D-backs, who selected him No. 16 overall in the '14 Draft. The 22-year-old right-hander had command issues early in his Minor League career, but took a big step forward in '18, posting a 2.38 ERA over 24 starts between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. He made his Major League debut on Aug. 13, and posted a 4.03 ERA in seven appearances (five starts). Toussaint's pure stuff -- including a very good curveball -- could be the best in Atlanta's system.

Pache, a 20-year-old outfielder, is the best defensive player in the Braves' farm system, and could even be the best defensive center fielder in the Minors. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015, he has hit consistently well over three Minor League seasons, though some power didn't arrive until last season, when he slashed .279/.307/.410 with nine homers in 122 games between Class A Advanced Florida and Double-A Mississippi.

Video: Top Prospects: Christian Pache, OF, Braves

Riley is a 21-year-old third baseman who has demonstrated his raw power through four Minor League seasons. Last year, he was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A, hitting .282/.346/.464 with 12 homers in 75 games for Gwinnett.

Wilson, 21, moved from Class A Advanced to Triple-A in '18, and was even called up to the big leagues in August. In 25 Minor League appearances (23 starts) last year, he finished with a 3.44 ERA, 143 strikeouts and 36 walks. He appeared in three games for Atlanta, making one start, and posted a 6.43 ERA (five runs in seven innings).

Waters, who turned 20 last month, has a speed and power combination that portends a future as an everyday player for the Braves. Having made some mechanical adjustments at the plate, he hit .293/.343/.476 with nine homers and 23 steals between Class A Rome and Class A Advanced Florida last season.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Atlanta Braves, Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright

Inbox: Could Camargo play LF in 2019?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman fields fans' questions
MLB.com

Do you think the Braves will use Johan Camargo in left field if they can't find a deal to their liking?
-- @BayAreaBrave

Looking back on last year's National League East race, you can't discount the fact that while the Braves ranked fourth in the Majors with 59 Defensive Runs Saved, the Nationals (25th with -55 DRS), Mets (27th with -77 DRS) and Phillies (30th with -146 DRS) fielded some of the game's worst defenses. Now in exchange for placing an MVP-caliber bat (Josh Donaldson), Atlanta's best defensive infielder (Camargo) will not be used on an everyday basis.

Do you think the Braves will use Johan Camargo in left field if they can't find a deal to their liking?
-- @BayAreaBrave

Looking back on last year's National League East race, you can't discount the fact that while the Braves ranked fourth in the Majors with 59 Defensive Runs Saved, the Nationals (25th with -55 DRS), Mets (27th with -77 DRS) and Phillies (30th with -146 DRS) fielded some of the game's worst defenses. Now in exchange for placing an MVP-caliber bat (Josh Donaldson), Atlanta's best defensive infielder (Camargo) will not be used on an everyday basis.

For the record, a much wiser man named Ron Washington makes sure to remind me of Dansby Swanson whenever I refer to Camargo as the organization's best infielder. Regardless, as the Braves plan to utilize Camargo in a super-utility role, it must be remembered how valuable his bat was last year.

Braves Weighted Runs Created Plus from May 20 (Camargo's first day as the everyday third baseman) through the end of 2018
1. Ronald Acuna Jr., 151
2. Freddie Freeman, 127
3. Johan Camargo, 117
4. Nick Markakis, 100
5. Tyler Flowers, 91
6. Ender Inciarte, 90
7. Ozzie Albies, 86
8. Swanson, 76

Camargo produced similar splits, generating an .803 OPS from the left side of the plate and an .813 OPS from the right side. This sets up the possibility for him to see time at each of the infield positions. But if an outfielder is not acquired, there's certainly reason to utilize him in left field on more than an occasional basis.

:: Submit a question to the Braves Inbox ::

Is Craig Kimbrel still a possibility for the Braves?
-- @Liam Filipowski

As we get closer to Spring Training, there's now at least more reason to think Kimbrel's market might drop to the point where it's more feasible to think about a reunion. The Braves would likely not offer more than three years, but the financial component (likely above $16 million per season) could still prove to be a deterrent.

Atlanta has the financial resources necessary to afford Kimbrel next season. But if the Braves were to commit $16 million to $18 million to him, they would limit their flexibility to address their greater needs to add an outfielder or enhance the rotation.

If we reach the point where Atlanta would be adding an outfielder or a starting pitcher just to plug a hole, then it would certainly make more sense to use the available funds to gain the value of adding one of the game's top closers. But for now, it seems like the focus remains on the outfield and the rotation.

Hot Stove Tracker

Are the Braves interested in Adam Jones as a possible outfield fit?
-- @Cantstopchoppin

Jones has expressed interest in playing for Atlanta. But the Braves have not pursued the veteran outfielder, who ranked 63rd among qualified outfielders with the 4.3 fWAR (Fangraphs' WAR Model) he produced from 2016-18. The 0.5 fWAR he produced last year ranked 52nd out of 56 qualified outfielders.

Taking a chance on trading for Nicholas Castellanos' defensive shortcomings seems to be a better option than pursuing Jones or Carlos Gonzalez, whose value was diminished by his 2018 numbers outside of Coors Field. If the Braves are going to sign a free-agent outfielder, Markakis seems to be the most likely option.

Video: Anthopoulos discusses Braves' offseason on MLB Now

Why do the Braves seem to be holding onto all of their pitching prospects rather than "blowing another team away" with a trade offer to fill the outfield void or get an ace? There's not enough room in the rotation for all these young guys.
-- @ElderLD

There's plenty of room as long as they all still have options, allowing for the possibility for them to be shuttled between the Atlanta and Triple-A Gwinnett rosters. The greater concern comes from the reality that inevitably a few of these highly regarded prospects will eventually diminish in value.

If you were to deal Luiz Gohara or Kolby Allard right now, you wouldn't get the same value you would have via a trade involving them at this point last year. With that being said, Allard still has time to physically mature and a better conditioned Gohara could quickly restore his value this year.

Yes, the Braves have an abundance of riches with seven pitchers listed among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects. And yes, it might make sense to use two of those assets to gain three years of Corey Kluber or include one in a package used to acquire two years of J.T. Realmuto. But so far, the right deal has not materialized for general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who has never shied away from making significant trades.

Anthopoulos also has to remain cognizant of the fact that until Sean Newcomb proves himself, there is uncertainty beyond Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman in Atlanta's potential rotation for 2020. Waiting another season to determine which of these prospects should be considered long-term fits could prove costly as some could lose value this year. But preserving much of this depth could prove quite valuable beyond the upcoming season.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Johan Camargo

Braves protect 4 prospects from Rule 5 Draft

Weigel, Webb, Ynoa, Jackson added to 40-man roster
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Unlike Patrick Weigel, Jacob Webb did not rise to prominent prospect status before his professional career was halted by Tommy John surgery. But now that these two promising pitchers have recovered, they will come to Spring Training with the same realistic goal to make their respective Major League debuts in 2019.

Weigel, Webb, catcher Alex Jackson and right-handed pitcher Huascar Ynoa were protected from this year's Rule 5 Draft when they were added to the Braves' 40-man roster on Tuesday morning.

ATLANTA -- Unlike Patrick Weigel, Jacob Webb did not rise to prominent prospect status before his professional career was halted by Tommy John surgery. But now that these two promising pitchers have recovered, they will come to Spring Training with the same realistic goal to make their respective Major League debuts in 2019.

Weigel, Webb, catcher Alex Jackson and right-handed pitcher Huascar Ynoa were protected from this year's Rule 5 Draft when they were added to the Braves' 40-man roster on Tuesday morning.

Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2014 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the '15 Draft is in the same position.

With the additions, the Braves' 40-man roster is at capacity, but a couple vacancies could open up by Nov. 30, when all teams must determine which of their arbitration-eligible players will be tendered a contract.

Weigel (No. 21), Webb (29), Jackson (27) and Ynoa (20) are all ranked among the Braves' Top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline. The only Rule 5-eligible players from that list left unprotected were right-handed pitcher Josh Graham (28) and outfielder Travis Demeritte (22), who was not selected when he was left unprotected last year.

Here is a look at the newest additions to Atlanta's 40-man roster:

Weigel: A seventh-round selection in the 2015 MLB Draft, the 6-foot-6 right-hander rose to Triple-A Gwinnett in May of 2017 and underwent Tommy John surgery the following month. He posted a 1.21 ERA over the five starts that immediately preceded his injury. The 24-year-old hurler showed he was healthy while making four appearances for Atlanta's Gulf Coast League team this year. He recorded 220 strikeouts over 228 innings at three levels from 2016-17. He would have almost certainly been taken in the Rule 5 Draft.

Webb: Taken in the 18th round of the 2014 Draft, Webb injured his elbow on the first day of Spring Training in 2015 and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. The right-hander slowly made his way back during the second half of the '16 season and then started showing promise as he posted a 0.69 ERA over his final 13 innings for Double-A Mississippi in '17. The 25-year-old posted a 0.96 ERA over his final 18 2/3 innings for Gwinnett this year, he and extended that success while posting a 0.90 ERA over 10 innings in the Dominican Winter League. He's a quality three-pitch reliever who seems confident with both his changeup and curveball, which he developed when he ditched the slider after TJ surgery.

Tweet from @GoStripers: The Stripers��� Most Outstanding Reliever goes to Jacob Webb!Making his Triple-A debut on June 9th, Webb is 2 and 2 with a 3.34 ERA in 28 games with the Stripers. He has converted 10 of 12 save opportunities, which ranks 10th in the IL this season entering tonight���s game. pic.twitter.com/URHfKtCBiH

Ynoa: Given he posted a 8.03 ERA and was effective in just one of the seven starts he made after being elevated to Class-A Advanced, Ynoa is the most surprising addition. But the 20-year-old possesses a triple-digit fastball and enough upside to possibly lead a team to try stash him in its bullpen throughout the 2019 season.

Jackson: Just two years removed from converting from outfielder back to catcher, Jackson can still be considered a work in progress. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that the 22-year-old prospect has not lived up to offensive expectations since being taken by the Mariners with the sixth pick in the 2014 Draft. He hit .204 with three homers and a .722 OPS in 125 plate appearances after being promoted to Gwinnett this year. But catching is scarce and the Braves' only legitimate catching prospect, William Contreras, has not yet reached the Double-A level. So it is understandable why the Braves opted to protect their internal catching depth.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Huascar Ynoa

Braves' Davidson homers twice for 2nd straight game

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson is getting used to jogging around the bases in the Arizona Fall League.

After hitting a pair of homers on Tuesday, Davidson belted two more during Peoria's 6-0 win over Scottsdale on Wednesday at Peoria Sports Complex. The Braves' prospect went deep four times in a span of five at-bats over the past two games.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson is getting used to jogging around the bases in the Arizona Fall League.

After hitting a pair of homers on Tuesday, Davidson belted two more during Peoria's 6-0 win over Scottsdale on Wednesday at Peoria Sports Complex. The Braves' prospect went deep four times in a span of five at-bats over the past two games.

"I feel good, man, like I said yesterday, just trying to have quality at-bats, putting swings on balls and swinging at good pitches," said Davidson, who leads the Fall League with five home runs. "I've been seeing the ball well and getting my timing right."

Gameday

Can Davidson remember a stretch as dominant as this during his pro career?

"Nothing like this," Davidson said. "This is probably like the best baseball I've played in a while."

Over five Minor League seasons, Davidson has two multi-homer games, both of which came this year -- June 9 and Aug. 8 -- for Class A Advanced Florida. He has never hit three home runs in a game. But he hit two quickly on Wednesday.

With one out in the first inning, Davidson belted a three-run homer off Phillies farmhand Tyler Viza to open the scoring. Davidson drove the ball to straightaway center field, and it hit off the batter's eye above the yellow home run marker.

In the third, Davidson went deep off Viza again, hitting an opposite-field solo homer to left for a 4-0 Peoria lead.

"I felt like I got it good," Davidson said. "He started me off with a curveball for a strike. I've been working trying to stay more left-center, center-field approach, not trying to spin off balls. He just threw me a pitch I could handle on the outer third, and I just took it that way."

Davidson struck out swinging in the fifth, but he notched his second straight three-hit game when he singled in the seventh.

Over his last six AFL games, Davidson has collected all five of his Fall League homers and all 11 of his RBIs. During that stretch, he has raised his average from .067 to .275. Entering Tuesday, Davidson was batting .161.

Davidson's early run support was more than enough for Peoria as Mariners No. 27 prospect Anthony Misiewicz and five relievers combined to shut out Scottsdale, allowing only five hits.

Davidson flashed his power potential during the Minor League season, when he hit 20 home runs at the Class A Advanced level. However, the Braves' prospect hit .171 with 213 strikeouts in 416 at-bats.

Strikeouts have been an issue for Davidson in the past, but he "100 percent" feels that the extra at-bats during the AFL season are helping him become a better hitter.

"All these guys can play, good hitters, really good pitchers, good arms around here," Davidson said. "You've just got to step up to the plate, rise to the occasion, and hopefully I can keep it going for the rest of the Fall League."

Jake Rill is an editorial producer for MLB.com based in Phoenix.

Atlanta Braves

Davidson powers Peoria with pair of home runs

MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson led Peoria in a high-scoring Arizona Fall League affair on Tuesday, belting two home runs in the Javelinas' 12-7 win over Surprise at Surprise Stadium.

Davidson hit a solo home run in the sixth, followed by a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh that gave Peoria an 8-6 lead. The Braves prospect has three home runs during the Fall League season.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Braxton Davidson led Peoria in a high-scoring Arizona Fall League affair on Tuesday, belting two home runs in the Javelinas' 12-7 win over Surprise at Surprise Stadium.

Davidson hit a solo home run in the sixth, followed by a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh that gave Peoria an 8-6 lead. The Braves prospect has three home runs during the Fall League season.

"Right situation, right time," Davidson said. "Just trying to put good swings on balls, trying to find the barrel and just be more consistent with that."

Gameday

Davidson went 3-for-5, also hitting a double. He is batting .222 with seven RBIs in 10 AFL games.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

Since being selected in the first round of the 2014 Draft, Davidson has hit .213/.341/.349 over five Minor League seasons. He hit .171/.281/.365 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs, both career highs, in 121 games for Class A Advanced Florida in 2018.

"I had a little bit of a rough year, with the strikeouts and stuff like that," Davidson said. "But just trying to make contact, hard contact, put good swings on balls, have quality at-bats and see what happens from there."

Davidson is enjoying his time in the Fall League, but he is also out to prove something.

"Baseball's a tough game, mentally and physically," Davidson said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I'm out here with a bunch of good guys, guys that can hit. There's a bunch of good ball players out here. I believe I'm one of them."

After only playing in the outfield in his first three full pro seasons from 2015-17, Davidson moved to first base, a familiar position, this past season.

"I've proved I can play in the outfield for three years," Davidson said. "Going back to first base is my natural position. I played there all in high school, so I'm glad I'm back over there. It's a little bit more comfortable for me."

Davidson wasn't the only Peoria player to hit two home runs. Austin Allen, the Padres' No. 25 prospect, also went deep in consecutive innings, hitting homers in the seventh and eighth. Allen went 2-for-5 with five RBIs.

Drake Dunaway is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Atlanta Braves

Pipeline names Braves' Prospects of the Year

RHP Toussaint, third baseman Riley selected for honor
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Though the Braves introduced Ronald Acuna Jr. and many of their top pitching prospects to the Major League level this year, they still have an impressive farm system that was enriched this year by the progress made by both third baseman Austin Riley and right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint.

MLB Pipeline has named Riley the Braves' Player of the Year and Toussaint the club's Pitcher of the Year. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

ATLANTA -- Though the Braves introduced Ronald Acuna Jr. and many of their top pitching prospects to the Major League level this year, they still have an impressive farm system that was enriched this year by the progress made by both third baseman Austin Riley and right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint.

MLB Pipeline has named Riley the Braves' Player of the Year and Toussaint the club's Pitcher of the Year. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Riley ranks as baseball's 43rd-best prospect, the game's No. 3 third-base prospect and the fifth-best prospect within Atlanta's system, per MLB Pipeline. Toussaint ranks as the 40th-best overall prospect and the Braves' fourth-best prospect.

Toussaint began this season with Double-A Mississippi and ended it as part of the bullpen Atlanta used against the Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The 22-year-old right-hander still has some control issues. But the high walk rate he produced (6.5 walks per nine innings) he produced at the Major League level was about double what he constructed as he posted a 2.38 ERA over 136 1/3 innings for Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett this year.

Video: STL@ATL: Toussaint K's 8 in pivotal game vs. Cards

Because he did not begin pitching on a regular basis until he was 15 years old, there's still seemingly plenty of potential growth for Toussaint, who produced a 4.03 ERA over seven appearances (five starts) for Atlanta this year. He allowed one run over six innings when he made his Major League debut against the Marlins on Aug. 13. The Braves brought him back to the Majors a month later and allowed him to serve as their sixth starter throughout September.

Riley also started this season for Mississippi and might have reached the Majors had he not missed nearly all of June with a sprained right knee. The big third baseman combined to hit .294 with 19 homers and an .882 OPS with Mississippi and Gwinnett.

Video: Top Prospects: Austin Riley, 3B, Braves

Even though Johan Camargo enjoyed a successful season for Atlanta, there's still a chance Riley proves to be the club's third baseman of the future. The 21-year-old slugger has legitimate power potential, but there are concerns about the .297 strikeout percentage he had this year.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Touki Toussaint

Wright, No. 2 prospect, among Braves' callups

Special to MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Reinforcements have arrived at SunTrust Park, as the Braves added seven players to their active roster Saturday, including three of their top pitching prospects.

Right-handers Touki Toussaint and Bryse Wilson rejoined the big league club after making their debuts in August, and perhaps most notably, the Braves selected the contract of their No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, right-hander Kyle Wright from Triple-A Gwinnett. MLB Pipeline ranks Wright as the No. 24 overall prospect.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Reinforcements have arrived at SunTrust Park, as the Braves added seven players to their active roster Saturday, including three of their top pitching prospects.

Right-handers Touki Toussaint and Bryse Wilson rejoined the big league club after making their debuts in August, and perhaps most notably, the Braves selected the contract of their No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, right-hander Kyle Wright from Triple-A Gwinnett. MLB Pipeline ranks Wright as the No. 24 overall prospect.

View Full Game Coverage

The Braves also recalled outfielder Michael Reed, activated right-hander Shane Carle from the 10-day disabled list (right shoulder inflammation), selected outfielder Lane Adams and activated recently acquired catcher Rene Rivera.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Braves transitioned closer Arodys Vizcaino to the 60-day DL as he continues to recover from right shoulder inflammation. The move was mainly procedural, as his rehab schedule is the same, and he'll be eligible to return on Sept. 12.

Wright, a first-round Draft pick in 2017, has been a starter throughout his pro career but recently transitioned to the bullpen in advance of a potential callup, making three scoreless, one-inning appearances with Gwinnett. The last time he consistently pitched in relief was in '15 when he and Vanderbilt teammate Dansby Swanson played in the College World Series.

"One, it was to keep an eye on my innings because I was starting to getting up there," Wright said. "First full year, you want to play it safe. They said there was a chance [of getting called up]. You try to take that with a grain of salt and try to do what you [can] to get better. Getting to do [pitch in relief] my freshman year of college kind of brought me back, it brought up some good memories, so I was able to adjust easily."

Braves manager Brian Snitker expects Wright, Toussaint and Wilson to mainly pitch out of the bullpen, but all three pitchers are stretched out in case they need to make a spot start or pitch in long relief. However, Snitker said with 17 pitchers on the active roster, he won't be able to give everyone consistent innings.

"We're going to use them however we can use them to try to win a game," Snitker said. "I'm not going to worry. They've all got plenty of innings, and we'll pitch them as they see fit. But there's not going to be a push or anything to make sure guys get innings."

The expanded rosters in September will also allow Snitker to be more creative with substitutions, given that he gained a third catcher -- Rivera was claimed off waivers on Wednesday -- and a pinch-run option in Adams.

Ben Weinrib is a contributor to MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson

Wilson shows promise in confident debut

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Less than five months since beginning this season at the Class A Advanced level and a little more than 24 hours after learning he would make his Major League debut, Bryse Wilson entered the history books and provided another glimpse of the pitching depth within the Braves' organization.

As he stood on the mound at PNC Park during the Braves' 1-0 win over the Pirates on Monday, Wilson added to Pittsburgh's recent offensive woes and became the youngest Major League pitcher on record to win a 1-0 game in his big league debut. The stoic 20-year-old right-hander allowed three hits and pitched around three walks over five steady innings.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- Less than five months since beginning this season at the Class A Advanced level and a little more than 24 hours after learning he would make his Major League debut, Bryse Wilson entered the history books and provided another glimpse of the pitching depth within the Braves' organization.

As he stood on the mound at PNC Park during the Braves' 1-0 win over the Pirates on Monday, Wilson added to Pittsburgh's recent offensive woes and became the youngest Major League pitcher on record to win a 1-0 game in his big league debut. The stoic 20-year-old right-hander allowed three hits and pitched around three walks over five steady innings.

View Full Game Coverage

"That's about as good as it gets," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I was impressed all the way around. He carried himself like I expected."

Video: ATL@PIT: Wilson on his 1st win in the Majors

Wilson's meteoric rise through Atlanta's system was accelerated around noon ET on Sunday, when he learned he was being promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to start Monday's game. A few hours later, he boarded the Braves' charter flight to Pittsburgh and had some time to think about all that has transpired since the Braves selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft.

"It feels like forever ago," Wilson said when asked about the days he spent as a football and baseball star at Orange High School in North Carolina.

Video: ATL@PIT: Wilson escapes a jam after inducing DP

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 13th-best prospect in Atlanta's farm system, Wilson certainly didn't appear to be just a little more than two years removed from high school during this 87-pitch debut. He leaned on a fastball that touched 97 mph, found success with a slider that has improved significantly since he turned pro and competed with his changeup, the influential pitch he developed over the past year.

"I kind of expected to have a good year, but this year has been a lot of fun," Wilson said. "I've just been blessed with opportunities."

Wilson will return to Gwinnett's roster on Tuesday. But his debut essentially guaranteed that when rosters expand in September, he will return, either to make additional starts or to be used as a reliever. The Braves could opt to use him and another hard-throwing top prospect, Kyle Wright, to add depth to the bullpen.

• Wilson denied 1st career hit on rare 9-3 putout

"We knew this was going to be one start right now, and it was good to see," Snitker said. "He's got to feel really good about everything he's worked toward and getting a win in his first game in a game like this. You're going to see him again for probably a long time."

Wilson -- at 20 years, 243 days old -- became the youngest Major Leaguer to start a game this season. He also joined Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard as Braves starting pitchers who have made their debuts before turning 21 this year. Each earned a win in his debut.

"For as young as they are, they've been pretty impressive," said Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, who plated the lone run in Monday's victory.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves

Braves activate LHP Freeman, option Allard

Reliever looks to regain command in return from shoulder injury
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Instead of sticking to their plan of giving Sam Freeman another Minor League rehab appearance, the Braves activated the left-handed reliever from the disabled list before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Rockies.

Freeman returns to Atlanta's bullpen hoping to distance himself from the second-highest walk rate among qualified Major League relievers -- 6.13 walks per nine innings -- that led to a 5.45 ERA over 39 2/3 innings.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Instead of sticking to their plan of giving Sam Freeman another Minor League rehab appearance, the Braves activated the left-handed reliever from the disabled list before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Rockies.

Freeman returns to Atlanta's bullpen hoping to distance himself from the second-highest walk rate among qualified Major League relievers -- 6.13 walks per nine innings -- that led to a 5.45 ERA over 39 2/3 innings.

View Full Game Coverage

Once Freeman allowed opponents to hit .327 with a .438 on-base percentage over 16 appearances from June 15 to July 28, the Braves placed him on the 10-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.

Freeman labored through an Aug. 12 rehab appearance for Class A Rome, but then he seemingly regained some arm strength during two appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett. He pitched around a walk in both of the scoreless innings he recorded for the Stripers.

Rookie Kolby Allard was optioned to Gwinnett to create a roster spot for Freeman, who produced a 2.55 ERA over 60 innings (58 appearances) for Atlanta last season.

Toussaint tunes up
Touki Toussaint prepped for a return to the Majors with nine strikeouts and one run allowed over six innings in Gwinnett's win over Buffalo on Saturday night. The Braves have not made an announcement, but it appears Toussaint will return to the Majors to start against the Marlins on Thursday or Friday.

Toussaint allowed one run and two hits over six innings when he made his Major League debut against the Marlins last week. MLB Pipeline ranks him as baseball's 76th-best prospect and the seventh best in the Braves' system.

Prospect watch
Third baseman Austin Riley -- Atlanta's No. 4 prospect and 43rd overall -- hit .308 with a .922 OPS and 10 homers over 222 plate appearances for Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett before spraining his right knee on June 3. Over 146 plate appearances since returning from a month-long stint on the disabled list, he has batted .262 with a .717 OPS and just one home run.

Riley has also struck out once every 3.18 at-bats while with Mississippi and Gwinnett. His struggles have likely lessened the likelihood he will begin the 2019 season as Atlanta's third baseman. But at 21 years old, he still has plenty of time to live up to his tremendous potential.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Kolby Allard, Sam Freeman

Toussaint, Fried could rejoin 6-man rotation

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Touki Toussaint is a little more than a week away from returning to the Majors and Max Fried has recovered sooner than expected, so the Braves will have the option to resume using a six-man rotation next week.

When Fried strained his left groin during last week's start against the Nationals, the Braves initially feared he would be sidelined until September. But the young southpaw has made a quick recovery and is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- Touki Toussaint is a little more than a week away from returning to the Majors and Max Fried has recovered sooner than expected, so the Braves will have the option to resume using a six-man rotation next week.

When Fried strained his left groin during last week's start against the Nationals, the Braves initially feared he would be sidelined until September. But the young southpaw has made a quick recovery and is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday.

View Full Game Coverage

If all goes well for Fried, there is a chance he could make his next start for Atlanta as early as next Wednesday in Pittsburgh. His return would allow the Braves to once again creatively construct the six-man rotation that was put in place earlier this month to allow each starter to pitch with an extra day of rest.

But the Braves might delay returning to a six-man rotation until Toussaint can return to the Majors.

After Toussaint limited the Marlins to one run over six innings in his Major League debut on Monday, he was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett with the understanding that if he was not part of a disabled-list transaction, he would not be eligible to return to Atlanta's roster before Aug. 23.

Video: MIA@ATL: Toussaint goes six strong in debut for win

If Toussaint starts for Gwinnett on Saturday, he would be lined up to make the Aug. 23 start in Miami on regular rest.

The Braves have a scheduled off-day on Aug. 27. If Fried starts on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, there would not necessarily be a need for Toussaint to become the sixth man in the rotation until Sept. 2.

Odds and Ends 
• Left-handed reliever Sam Freeman could be activated from the disabled list early next week. Freeman is currently scheduled to make two more rehab appearances for Gwinnett.

• Right-handed reliever Shane Carle is currently working out at the Braves' Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Carle was placed on the DL last week with right shoulder inflammation. He has not been cleared to begin throwing activities.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Max Fried, Touki Toussaint

This is how the Braves got so good so fast

MLB.com

Teams with a strong farm system often surge at the big league level sooner than expected. The most famous recent examples are the Cubs and Astros, who suddenly reversed years of losing with postseason appearances in 2015, a prelude to winning World Series in the next two seasons.

The Red Sox went from last place in the American League East in 2015 to first place in '16, and they haven't looked back since. The Twins' youngsters needed a little more time to percolate, then sparked a 36-game improvement in '17 that made Minnesota the first big league club to reach the playoffs following a 100-loss season.

Teams with a strong farm system often surge at the big league level sooner than expected. The most famous recent examples are the Cubs and Astros, who suddenly reversed years of losing with postseason appearances in 2015, a prelude to winning World Series in the next two seasons.

The Red Sox went from last place in the American League East in 2015 to first place in '16, and they haven't looked back since. The Twins' youngsters needed a little more time to percolate, then sparked a 36-game improvement in '17 that made Minnesota the first big league club to reach the playoffs following a 100-loss season.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Now the Braves are making the jump, leading the National League East and challenging for the best record in the Senior Circuit after posting four straight losing seasons from 2014-17. After the first of those sub-.500 years, they fired GM Frank Wren and fully committed to rebuilding a farm system that had fallen into disrepair.

However, unlike the Braves' NL East dynasty of the 1990s and early 2000s, this team has not built through the Draft, but instead found alternative methods of bringing in talent. To illustrate this, let's take a look at their lineup in 2005 -- the last of their record 14 straight division titles -- compared to their lineup today.

2005 (How acquired)
C: Johnny Estrada (Trade)
1B: Adam LaRoche (Draft)
2B: Marcus Giles (Draft)
SS: Rafael Furcal (International free agent)
3B: Chipper Jones (Draft)
LF: Kelly Johnson (Draft)
CF: Andruw Jones (International free agent)
RF: Jeff Francoeur (Draft)

2018 (How acquired)
C: Kurt Suzuki (MLB Free agent)
1B: Freddie Freeman (Draft)
2B: Ozzie Albies (International free agent)
SS: Dansby Swanson (Trade)
3B: Johan Camargo (International free agent)
LF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (International free agent)
CF: Ender Inciarte (Trade)
RF: Nick Markakis (MLB free agent)

That 2005 team had five draftees and two international amateur free agents among its regulars, while the current squad has only one drafted player in its everyday lineup (Freeman). So how did they do this? Let's break it down.

Video: Acuna Jr. hits 6 homers over 5 straight games

International focus

Under former president of baseball operations John Hart and GM John Coppolella, Atlanta engineered a slew of veterans-for-prospects trades, acquiring nine former first-rounders and four future Draft picks (more on that later). But perhaps more than anything, the biggest shift was the Braves' focus on the international amateur market, though overly so, with Hart stripped of power and later stepping down, Coppolella forced to resign and subsequently banned from MLB for life and 13 signees declared free agents after an investigation revealed the club had violated signing rules from 2015-17.

Interestingly, Atlanta's two best young players -- and two of the best in baseball -- are international signees from the Wren administration, and predate the international violations. The Braves landed Albies for $350,000 out of Curacao in July 2013, then grabbed Acuna for $100,000 out of Venezuela a year later.

Albies, now 21, already has 21 homers two-thirds of the way through his first full season as a big leaguer after never hitting more than nine in any Minor League season. Acuna, now 20, was the consensus Minor League Player of the Year in 2017 and has had no problems transitioning to the Majors. He has led off his past three games with home runs, giving him 19 in 67 games and becoming the youngest player to homer in five straight contests.

Video: MIL@ATL: Albies belts a go-ahead solo home run in 7th

They're well-rounded players and much more than sluggers, with Albies worth 3.5 Wins Above Replacement and Acuna worth 2.8 so far this year. Only three teams in baseball history have had two players 21 or younger compile 2.5 WAR in the same season: the 1959 Giants (Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey), the '39 Red Sox (Bobby Doerr, Ted Williams) and the 1893 Baltimore Orioles (Joe Kelley, John McGraw). All six of those players are enshrined in the Hall of Fame, incidentally.

Third baseman Johan Camargo (age 24) was another astute international signing ($42,000 out of Panama in 2010) under Wren, but many of the Braves' young standouts have Hart and Coppolella's fingerprints all over them.

Outside-the-box trades

Many clubs are hesitant to trade cost-controlled players, including homegrown guys they have given long-term contracts to prior to free agency. The Braves, however, have exploited this, and brought back a lot of value in the process.

Perhaps the most famous example is when they acquired Swanson (age 24), the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, along with defensive standout Inciarte in a trade that sent Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks and could go down as one of the most lopsided trades in history and the standout transaction of the Hart/Coppolella era. Of course, that trade was only possible because Hart flipped Jason Heyward to the Cardinals in a trade for Miller prior to the 2015 season. At the time, Heyward was a year from free agency, while Miller had five years of team control left, so it was a nice bit of arbitrage.

Along those lines, the clubs' two best starting pitchers, Mike Foltynewicz (age 26) and Sean Newcomb (age 25), arrived in deals with the Astros for Evan Gattis and the Angels for Andrelton Simmons. The Simmons deal was notable because it came in the fall of 2015, just a few months after he had signed a seven-year, $58 million extension.

Video: MIA@ATL: Folty K's 7 over 8 frames, gets RBI in win

The Braves first demonstrated a willingness trade homegrown players signed to long-term deals the previous April, when Hart sent closer Craig Kimbrel -- given a four-year, $42 million extension by Wren in 2014 -- and Melvin Upton Jr. to the Padres in a deal that brought back Matt Wisler (then the top prospect in the trade), Jordan Paroubeck, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin and a 2015 competitive balance Draft pick, which they turned into third baseman Austin Riley at No. 41 overall. That pick may end up being the key to the deal, as Riley now ranks as their No. 4 prospect and No. 43 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list.

Other less-heralded -- but equally shrewd -- trades are when they acquired 21-year-old flame-throwing lefty Luiz Gohara from the Mariners in a swap that saw them surrender Mallex Smith, and the infamous deal with Arizona in which they sent infielder to Phil Gosselin to the D-backs in exchange for Bronson Arroyo's onerous contract and right-hander Touki Toussaint, who now, at 22, looks like a potential lynchpin of the rotation.

Video: MLB Tonight on Toussaint's big league debut

Best of the rest

Of course, the Braves do have some key contributors who came from the Draft, as well as Major League free agency.

Co-closer A.J. Minter (age 24) was a supplemental second-round pick in 2015 despite having Tommy John surgery earlier that spring, and couple of other pitchers who have made cameos this year and should play larger roles in this future are 20-year-olds Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka, both of whom were first-round picks in '15.

And, of course, there is Freeman, who at 28 years old remains Atlanta's most dangerous hitter. He was the Braves' second-round pick back in 2007 (Atlanta's top pick that year was Heyward).

Video: MIA@ATL: Freeman drives a solo home run to center

In terms of Major League free agents, right fielder Markakis and starter Anibal Sanchez are having career renaissances at age 34, while the over-30 catching duo of Suzuki and Tyler Flowers has been surprisingly effective. But make no mistake -- this is a young team that's only going to get younger in the next couple of years.

The Braves placed second in MLB Pipeline's midseason farm-system rankings and top all organizations with nine players on our Top 100 Prospects list: Soroka, right-handers Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson, Riley, outfielder Cristian Pache, Gohara, Toussaint, Allard and outfielder Drew Waters. They're contending ahead of schedule, and 2018 should only be the beginning of an extended run of success.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Atlanta Braves

Toussaint on track for MLB debut in twin bill

Braves' No. 7 prospect slated to start opener vs. Marlins
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- As soon as Touki Toussaint was scratched from Friday night's start with Triple-A Gwinnett, Braves fans gained further reason to eagerly anticipate his Major League debut.

It appears that will come at SunTrust Park on Monday, when Toussaint is expected to be promoted from Gwinnett to start the opener in a doubleheader against the Marlins.

ATLANTA -- As soon as Touki Toussaint was scratched from Friday night's start with Triple-A Gwinnett, Braves fans gained further reason to eagerly anticipate his Major League debut.

It appears that will come at SunTrust Park on Monday, when Toussaint is expected to be promoted from Gwinnett to start the opener in a doubleheader against the Marlins.

With Max Fried on the disabled list, Luiz Gohara dealing with a sore left shoulder and Kolby Allard showing he is not yet Major League ready, the Braves don't have many other attractive options beyond Toussaint, who ranks as baseball's 76th-best prospect and the Braves' seventh-best prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Toussaint has posted a 2.10 ERA over the 12 starts he's combined to make for Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett dating back to May 24. The 22-year-old right-hander has a 2.01 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 13 walks over the 31 1/3 innings he has totaled through his first five starts for Gwinnett.

With the Braves planning on using a five-man rotation, Toussaint will likely make just one start and then return to Gwinnett to extend his development. He has 28 starts above the Class A Advanced level.

Video: Top Prospects: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves

To get Toussaint from the D-backs during the 2015 season, the Braves exchanged Phil Gosselin and agreed to pay the remainder of the $10 million owed to Bronson Arroyo while understanding the veteran hurler would never throw a pitch for them after completing his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Touki Toussaint

Toussaint being considered for spot start

Prospect could get called up for Monday's doubleheader
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- As soon as Touki Toussaint was scratched from Friday night's start with Triple-A Gwinnett, Braves fans gained further reason to eagerly anticipate his Major League debut.

The Braves have not announced their plan for Toussaint. But it appears Toussaint will be promoted from Gwinnett to make a start in Monday's doubleheader against the Marlins.

View Full Game Coverage

ATLANTA -- As soon as Touki Toussaint was scratched from Friday night's start with Triple-A Gwinnett, Braves fans gained further reason to eagerly anticipate his Major League debut.

The Braves have not announced their plan for Toussaint. But it appears Toussaint will be promoted from Gwinnett to make a start in Monday's doubleheader against the Marlins.

View Full Game Coverage

With Max Fried on the disabled list, Luiz Gohara dealing with a sore left shoulder and Kolby Allard showing he is not yet Major League ready, the Braves really don't have any other attractive options beyond Toussaint, who ranks as baseball's 76th-best prospect and the Braves' seventh-best prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Toussaint has posted a 2.10 ERA over the 12 starts he's combined to make for Double-A Mississippi and Gwinnett dating back to May 24. The 22-year-old right-hander has a 2.01 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 13 walks over the 31 1/3 innings he has totaled through his first five starts for Gwinnett.

With the Braves planning on using a five-man rotation, Toussaint would likely make just one start and then return to Gwinnett to extend his development. He has totaled 28 starts above the Class A Advanced level.

Video: Top Prospects: Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves

To get Toussaint from the D-backs during the 2015 season, the Braves exchanged Phil Gosselin and agreed to pay the remainder of the $10 million owed to Bronson Arroyo while understanding the veteran hurler would never throw a pitch for them after completing his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Toussaint's stock dropped during his first two full years in the Braves' organization, and there were legitimate doubts about his future last year when he posted a 5.04 ERA over 19 starts for Class A Advanced Florida. But after starting this season slow, he has proven more consistent with what has the potential to be a plus curveball at the Major League level.

Sanchez improves
Anibal Sanchez hobbled around Nationals Park's visitor's clubhouse in painful fashion late Thursday afternoon and then boarded the Braves' charter flight wearing a walking boot. But after arriving at SunTrust Park on Friday, the veteran hurler had improved enough to lead the Braves to believe he will make Tuesday's scheduled start against the Marlins.

"He came in here today considerably better than when we got here [Thursday night]," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "So, right now, unless he shows up tomorrow and relapses, he's planning on making his next start."

Sanchez exited Thursday's start against the Nationals after being struck on the left calf with Michael A. Taylor's comebacker to end the second inning.

Video: ATL@WSH: Sanchez hit by comebacker, later exits game

Roster moves
The Braves purchased right-hander Chad Sobotka's contract and recalled left-hander Chad Bell from Gwinnett before Friday's series opener against the Brewers. The two relievers filled the roster spots vacated when Wes Parsons and Adam McCreery were optioned to Gwinnett immediately after making their respective Major League debuts after Sanchez exited Thursday.

Sobotka has produced a 2.14 ERA while combining to make 25 appearances with Florida, Mississippi and Gwinnett this year. The 6-foot-7 hurler was taken in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Bell posted a 7.31 ERA over the 31 appearances he combined to make for Detroit within the past two seasons. 

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Anibal Sanchez, Touki Toussaint