|By Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons|
We’re still a few weeks from this series really taking off as minor leaguers get moved up-and-down the system, but here’s this week’s recap. Just to be clear, I won’t be detailing every time a guy gets “assigned” to the Braves, which is just a way of saying the team brought someone up to be a reserve for their major league squad. This will happen daily throughout the spring. To get an idea of who is up with the team for that day, check the official Braves’ twitter page, which typically posts lineup information that includes which reserves are with the team that day.
Signed: OF Sanders Commings…Once a tremendous defensive back at the University of Georgia, Commings was a fifth-round pick by the Chiefs and was lauded for his athletic ability. The Chiefs thought they had a potential big player for them, but injuries over two years with KC limited him to just two games before he was cut at the end of camp in 2015. After failing to secure another job with an NFL team, Commings started to think “If Tim Tebow can do it, why not me?” Well, I don’t know that part for sure, but nevertheless, he began to work out with Jerry Hairston Jr., the former MLB outfielder, to get his swing and defensive skills back on track after last playing competitive ball in high school before attending UGA. All in all, it’s an interesting move and who knows if anything comes of it. On the bright side, unlike Tebow, this signing hasn’t set off a massive media circus.
Claimed: 1B/OF Christian Walker (Orioles)…Walker rode strong power and walk numbers into Top 200 prospect range before 2014, but his numbers have stagnated or declined in the higher-level minors. Two brief cups of coffee in the majors have done little to impress anyone and after spending all of 2016 in Triple-A, the Orioles decided to try to sneak Walker off their 40-man. No such luck as the Braves came in to grab the right-hand hitter last week and he has since played for the Braves this spring. Again, Walker has nice power with 63 homers over the last three years (including one major league bomb), but his OPS has been in the .750 range in the International League because of a mediocre hit tool and an 8% walk rate while striking out a quarter of the time. A lot of the increased strikeouts is a product of a mechanical change he made in order pull the ball more and take advantage of his power. However, in theory, Walker does appear like a fit for the Braves for two reasons. His right-hand bat could provide the Braves with an option against left-hand pitching in late innings – something lacking right now. Walker doesn’t possess typical lefty-masher stats in the minors, but he handles them well enough. Still, as I said yesterday during my roster battle preview for the bench, I’m not sure I see what is so desirable about Walker outside of Triple-A depth.
DL’d: UTIL Sean Rodriguez (60-day)…This move was obviously expected after the car he was driving was struck by a man who stole a police cruiser. His wife and kids were all hospitalized in the event, but the whole family is out of the hospital and moving forward. While he was fortunate to avoid worse injuries from the accident, it seems likely that Rodriguez will miss most – if not all – of 2017.
No minor league moves.