Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Transaction Tuesday: Cabrera, Wisler, Carlos Salazar

So, today has seen a bunch of action as far as transactions go. Patrick Weigel, Ronald Acuna, and Anfernee Seymour have all been promoted up the ladder while Adam Walker received his walking papers. These moves will be covered next week with a look at what the first week for the recently promoted prospects looked like.

A note on this report - moves referenced today took place between May 2 and May 8. Taxi Squad refers to a Braves minor league team "sending" a player to Danville just to get him off the active roster. In most cases, the player will stay with the team that just demoted him until he is brought back onto the active roster. Prospect Numbers are derived from my preseason Top 50.

Atlanta Braves
*Last night, I went over the trade of Danny Santana/Kevin Chapman, the release of Ryan Howard, and Lane Adams being optioned.

Promoted from Gwinnett: Sam Freeman...The arrival of Freeman was a bit of a surprise. Yes, he only allowed one earned run in 10.1 innings with Gwinnett, but his numbers beyond his ERA were pretty pedestrian (20% K rate, 15% walk rate, unsustainable .160 BABIP and 94% LOB%). Still, the Braves brought the lefty up. I have my doubts about his ability to stick for very long, but considering the issues Eric O'Flaherty and Ian Krol have had, a dependable lefty could be of assistance - though, as OFR's Andy Harris pointed out, Freeman is not a left-hand specialist.

Activated off DL and Optioned to Gwinnett: Mauricio Cabrera...Elbow issues limited Cabrera this spring and kept him from pitching in a game until late April as he began a rehab stint. Control problems plagued him as they had been known to do throughout his career. As such, the Braves wanted to see more from the fireballer before bringing him back to the bigs. Once he starts to throw strikes consistently, he'll be back.

Optioned to Gwinnett: Matt Wisler...Year Three of Wisler in the majors didn't look so hot. He rolled in his first two outings out of the pen, facing one over the minimum over three innings. His next two innings, spaced over two outings, saw ten batters reach base, seven score run, two receive free passes to first, and just one strikeout. Obviously, it's still too early to say much of anything about Wisler and certainly, five innings is too small of a sample to grade anything on. All that said, Wisler was last really impressive in 2013, spent mostly at Double-A. His control remains very good, but it too often waivers in the majors as Wisler can't entice many weak swings on his offerings early in the count like he can in the minors. The Braves have little reason to close the door on Wisler, but he's also given Atlanta little reason to want to see him more.

Transferred to 60-day DL: Micah Johnson...Nothing surprising here as Johnson was still ways off from earning a spot on the roster and the Braves needed a spot for Santana. He fractured his wrist nearly two months ago and there's little news on what a timetable might look like.

Transferred to 60-day DL: Daniel Winkler...Like with Johnson, this was a procedure move to get Freeman on the roster. Winkler had been hoping to be in rehab games by this point, but 13 months since fracturing his elbow, he's still not in a position to throw a competitive pitch. A trip to the 60-day DL simply means he wouldn't be back before June - which was a given.

Gwinnett Braves
Activated off DL: Emerson Landoni...Landoni first joined the organization back in 2012 and has been a fixture ever since. A utility infielder, Landoni has some fans in the organization who keep him around. He's 1-for-12 on the year and it's not a good bet to expect much better from Landoni's bat.

Mississippi Braves
Activated off DL: Sal Giardina...A 2014 draft choice and rare switch-hitting catcher, Giardina hit .246/.302/.342 with Carolina last year. You won't get many walks from him and he strikes out a bit too much, but for the Braves to make room for him (while dropping one of their top defensive catchers), you have to believe the Braves like Giardina for their young pitchers.

Activated off DL: Levi Hyams...After beginning the year on the DL, this will mark the third consecutive year Hyams has played in Mississippi. He had a nice run with Rome back in 2013 and produced in Pearl two years ago, but his career has been mostly pedestrian. Interestingly, his walk rate, which had been above 10% for three years before 2016 cratered last year. Meanwhile, his K% has never been higher. He has a little pop in his bat and if the walk rate returns, he'll be a decent enough option off the bench for Mississippi.

Demoted to Taxi Squad with Gwinnett and Promoted to Mississippi: Wes Parsons...Parsons briefly appeared with Gwinnett - the first time the former undrafted prospect has made it that far. Parsons came onto the scene with a big 2013 where he kept the Southern League at bay over 109.2 innings. He would struggle the following year and injuries would limit the righty to just 86.1 innings over the last two seasons. Used as a long reliever with Mississippi, Parsons has been a bit unlucky with Mississippi (.333 BABIP) but has done a superb job getting grounders and being efficient (2.8 K/BB).

Placed on DL: Reed Harper...On the day Hyams was activated, Harper headed to the DL. Plucked out of the 25th round back in 2013 out of Austin Peay State, Harper has been a utility infielder for much of his career. He's never had much of a bat, but mans his position(s) well.

Placed on DL: Joe Rogers...A late release this spring by the Tigers, Rogers has struggled to stay off the DL in his career. That has continued with the Braves. He missed most of the first month before a recent activation. He worked two games before heading back to the DL. In two innings this year, Rogers has allowed two runs, walked two, and struck out one. A former fifth-rounder out of UCF, Rogers is a lefty with pedestrian numbers when he's healthy enough to pitch.

Traded to Baltimore for cash: Armando Araiza...A strong defender, Araiza was pushed out when Giardina was activated for Mississippi. He had been hitting .143 with a homer over eleven games. He's - at times - flashed a decent enough hit tool, but his glove is his best weapon. He was immediately assigned a spot in Triple-A after the trade.

Florida Fire Frogs
Rehab: Chaz Roe...After a strong 21-game finish to 2016, the Braves had high hopes for Roe this year, but the righty struggled in spring training and looked very bad in three outings before landing on the DL in mid-April. Diagnosed with a right lat strain, Roe finally took the field again last week and gave up a run while facing five hitters. He struck out one and was charged with two hits.

Demoted from Gwinnett: Enderson Franco...An organizational guy early this season, Franco opened the season in the Rome bullpen before being recruited for emergency starting duty in Gwinnett. After two starts there, he headed to Florida and already has a start there. In his eighth minor league season and fourth organization, Franco hadn't pitched above A-ball until his brief (and successful) run in Gwinnett.

Released: Carlos Salazar...And just like that, Salazar ran out of chances. Frank Wren's team was criticized for - and rightfully so - going safe with many of their top picks in the amateur draft, but Salazar was not one of those safe picks. Picked with the #102nd overall selection back in 2013, Salazar had a big arm even as a young teenager. He was clocked in the mid-90's with upper-90's max velocity. But a wild and inconsistent delivery was his undoing. The Braves continued to tinker with him, but he was never able to show the ability to get hitters out above rookie ball. The last three years, he had strikeout and walk rates both over 20%. I imagine this isn't the end of the road for Salazar, but he might have to go to independent ball and hope he can find the strikezone more often there before another organization will give him a look.

Rome Braves

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