ATLANTA -- The Braves have fully embraced their youth movement, with top prospects like Sean Newcomb and Ozzie Albies getting their feet wet at the Major League level. Several players have made their MLB debut with the Braves. More could be on the way when MLB rosters expand on Sept.
ATLANTA -- The Braves have fully embraced their youth movement, with top prospects like Sean Newcomb and Ozzie Albies getting their feet wet at the Major League level.
Several players have made their MLB debut with the Braves. More could be on the way when MLB rosters expand on Sept. 1. Atlanta is permitted to have up to 40 players on its roster for the final month of the season, and with many prospects ending their Minor League season in a couple weeks, there are plenty of potential callups.
The evaluation comes down to who is ready to contribute to the team. It seems unlikely that the Braves will promote Ronald Acuna, the club's No. 1 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com. He doesn't have to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, and he might be better served to play out the remainder of the season at Triple-A Gwinnett and prepare to earn a roster spot next season. But Atlanta could bring up A.J. Minter (No. 24) to gain experience pitching out of the bullpen.
Here are some prospects and other players the Braves could consider bringing up when the rosters expand in the upcoming weeks.
Infielders Rio Ruiz and Micah Johnson
Ruiz (No. 21) was with the Braves earlier this season, but the infielder struggled in consistent playing time. In 31 games, he hit .175 with two homers and nine RBIs. Since being sent down to Gwinnett, Ruiz has hit .248 in 80 games. He is the most likely candidate to be recalled as he can fill in as a third-base option while Johan Camargo recovers from a right knee bruise. Ruiz could also be added if Atlanta decides to move a couple of veterans like Brandon Phillips later in the month.
Video: MIA@ATL: Ruiz plates Suzuki, cuts deficit to 1
Johnson's versatility could land him a spot on the expanded roster. He was up with the Braves earlier this season, but a lack of bench spots and the need for pitching led to him being sent down to Gwinnett. Johnson can fill in as a pinch-runner or a defensive replacement.
Catcher David Freitas
The Braves have been known for carrying three catchers during the season's final months. So that makes Freitas a possibility as there isn't another readily available option with a lot of experience. His situation is tricky as he would have to be put on the 40-man roster. However, with vets Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki logging a lot of innings, Freitas could wind up with Atlanta to give them a couple of days off down the stretch.
Relief pitchers Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair, Akeel Morris and Jason Hursh
The quartet of Wisler, Blair, Morris (No. 28) and Hursh all have Major League experience with the Braves this season. Wisler and Blair have both made the switch from starters to relievers, and it has paid dividends in the past few weeks.
Video: ATL@ARI: Morris K's Martinez to escape a jam
Wisler touched 96.8 mph as a reliever against the Mets on April 26 and Blair has shown an ability to get his slider over as a reliever. Hursh has shown that he is serviceable in Atlanta's bullpen, with seven strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.
Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.