Braves not ready to part with pitching prospects

December 13th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Courtesy of the tremendous young pitching crop that exists within the Braves' organization, general manager Alex Anthopoulos can confidently look toward the future with hope to be able to use these assets to consistently form strong rotations and also strengthen his club via significant trades.

Each of the Braves' top six pitching prospects -- Kolby Allard, Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, and Joey Wentz -- rank within MLBPipeline's top 100 Prospects list. Ranking seventh on the team's impressive list of pitchers is , who has already tasted the Majors and provided at least reason to argue he has a chance to be the best of this bunch.

"The strength of this team and the depth of this team is on the mound in terms of the long-term," Anthopoulos said. "From afar, it looks like there are some guys that might [not yet have lived up to their potential] that are capable of doing more."

As Anthopoulos moved near the completion of his first full month as the Braves' GM, and experienced the second day of this year's Winter Meetings on Tuesday, he possessed the assets that will likely lead rival executives to continue checking in with him about potential trade opportunities.

But for now, Anthopoulos seems content to patiently progress through this Hot Stove Season and possibly wait for the opportunity to see these young pitchers with his own eyes before defining their trade value.

"The goal is to get back to where this organization was before, where you're annually contending," Anthopoulos said.

Anthopoulos has not ruled out the possibility of trading for a controllable frontline starter who could immediately provide stability and experience within what currently stands as a young rotation. But before giving up the significant prospect haul that would likely be necessary to complete this kind of trade, he must also assess exactly where his team stands.

If the Braves were to trade for the Rays' Chris Archer, they would upgrade their rotation, but not necessarily become legit postseason contenders for the 2018 season. This desired status will be more significantly influenced by the development and progression of some of the team's top young starters, namely Mike Foltynewicz, and Gohara, who will all likely begin '18 in Atlanta's rotation.

Looking specifically at Archer, the Braves would acquire three years of control. Without the addition of another proven starter this winter or significant strides made by at least two of three aforementioned young starters next summer, the likelihood of Archer helping Atlanta reach the playoffs each of these three seasons seems slim.

Thus, it might be wise for Anthopoulos to wait for another opportunity to arise, possibly after he has a chance to assess those starters that are already Major League-ready and the next wave of prospects, which includes Soroka and Allard, a couple of 2015 Draft selections who have the potential to join Atlanta's rotation at some point this summer.

At some point within the next year, it would seemingly be beneficial for the Braves to add value and experience to their rotation. But for now, Anthopoulos might continue preserving and cultivating his pitching crop much like John Schuerholz did during the early 1990s, when teams were expressing interest in Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery.