ATLANTA -- After spending the past two years stockpiling starting-pitching prospects, the Braves are using some of their surplus to brighten the future of their bullpen with high-upside power pitchers like Luke Jackson, who was acquired from the Rangers on Thursday night.The Braves traded right-hander Tyrell Jenkins and left-handed reliever
ATLANTA -- After spending the past two years stockpiling starting-pitching prospects, the Braves are using some of their surplus to brighten the future of their bullpen with high-upside power pitchers like Luke Jackson, who was acquired from the Rangers on Thursday night.
The Braves traded right-hander Tyrell Jenkins and left-handed reliever Brady Feigl in exchange for Jackson, a 25-year-old right-hander who spent time in Texas' bullpen the past two seasons.
Before trading Rob Whalen to the Mariners to create a 40-man roster spot for Sean Rodríguez last week, the Braves debated simply releasing Jenkins, who was acquired with Shelby Miller in the November 2014 trade that sent Jason Heyward to the Cardinals.
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So, the Braves at least were happy they opted to keep Jenkins, who -- like Jackson -- might benefit from a change of scenery.
Jackson -- who was ranked as the Rangers' 15th-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com -- will likely begin the coming season with Triple-A Gwinnett, and if he can overcome his command issues, there's a chance he could return to the Majors in 2017. He struggled over 18 big league innings with Texas, allowing 27 hits, 17 earned runs, 10 walks with just nine strikeouts.
The Braves are taking a low-cost chance on the possibility that Dom Chiti, Dave Wallace and some of their other highly regarded pitching instructors might suggest something that clicks for Jackson, who has produced 9.8 strikeouts and 4.6 walks per nine innings in the Minor Leagues.
While Jenkins was a likable personality who endeared himself to Braves fans via his interaction on social media and at the stadium, his future value quickly diminished. He has not yet provided confidence that his pitching repertoire is vast or strong enough to be successful as a starter or reliever at the big league level.
Feigl signed with the Braves as an undrafted free agent in 2013, and a strong Spring Training provided him hope to begin the 2015 season as a part of the Braves bullpen. But the 25-year-old southpaw instead started the season with Gwinnett, and an elbow surgery forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.