Transaction Tuesday: Swanson, Demeritte, Sanchez, Pena

Transaction Tuesday: Swanson, Demeritte, Sanchez, Pena

Not a big week in transactions, though a few players hit the DL that was quite noteworthy. We also had a minor league trade and a player to be named later was finally named in the Brandon Phillips trade. Finally, there was a suspension for a minor league player.

*The moves covered in this edition of Transaction Tuesday cover August 8 to August 14. A number in parenthesis represents the player’s ranking in the midseason WOW Top 50.

Atlanta

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Recalled from Gwinnett: Dansby Swanson…Here’s the thing that already looks good – Swanson is hitting the ball with more exit velocity (roughly 5-7 mph) than he did when his struggles finally reached rock bottom before the demotion. That’s a plus. On the negative side, he has yet to hit a ball with a better than 90 mph EV – something he did more frequently earlier in the season. But we’ll take what good we can find from Swanson. His time in the minors wasn’t very exciting, though it was short-lived. In fact, the most noteworthy thing about his stay in the minors was when he played second base. Not much else has yet to be written about Swanson this year so I won’t bore you with the same old, same old. What we do know is how he finishes these last several weeks might tell us more about where he is heading into 2018 and how the Braves see him.

Acquired as a PTBNL from Reds: Kevin Franklin…A second rounder back in 2013, Franklin has yet to show much of a bat in the minors. He was expected to have good power coming out of high school and was ranked #232 by Baseball America before the draft. Franklin has a long swing and the expected side effect of such a lengthy swing – a lot of strikeouts. He’s also quite aggressive at the plate and is simply not in the batter’s box to take walks. Now 22-years-old, Franklin is a curious pickup here. I guess it suggests that the Reds weren’t offering much more to add to the already very successful Brandon Phillips trade.

DL’d: Johan Camargo (#23, knee bone bruise)…Injured in an odd series of events last week, Camargo will miss some time with a knee injury. Camargo was struggling right before the injury with a .204/.278/.367 slash over his previous 54 PA (15 games). His BABIP was still at a healthy .364 clip and I don’t want to make too much of a big deal about that. The Camargo of 2017 is not the Camargo of previous years so the old and trusted idea of a career norm in BABIP might not be as useful as it usually is. All that said, there are some issues here that do suggest a further decline in his full season numbers shouldn’t be a surprise. I’m of the belief – and the numbers support it – that Camargo’s range is not very good at shortstop. With his cannon, he’s a better fit at third. Either way, no one can disagree that Camargo has had a very good rookie season. It’s what he ultimately profiles as that there is a lot of disagreement and that is unlikely to change soon.

Gwinnett
Promoted from Mississippi: Emerson Landoni…This is the sixth time Landoni has made one of these updates. He’s the definition of organizational filler.

Activated: Rhiner Cruz…One of Gwinnett’s top relievers missed very little time on the DL. A right-hander with major league experienced (5.05 FIP in 76.1 ING), Cruz has been much better with Gwinnett than he was in the Mexican League last year, proving once and for all – if you can’t hack it in the Mexican League, you still have a future in the International League.

Traded to Tacoma (Seattle): Andrew Albers…You landed on one of two sides when it came to this deal, which brought the Braves some extra cash. Either you were upset about trading the left-hander in the middle of a dominant season at Triple-A or you thought, “Am I upset about dealing a soft-tossing 31-year-old lefty? Nope.” Albers has always had good control and with no plus-plus pitch, he knows how to use what he has well. The problem is guys with Albers’ stuff often get blasted in the majors. Sometimes, though, something clicks and an AAAA guy finds success late in his career. Aaron Small, who also played in the Braves’ system, had a brief 76-inning stretch in 2005 with the Yankees where he put up a 1.3 fWAR run. This is amazing since his lifetime fWAR is 0.5. The next season, he turned back into a pumpkin. Will the Braves regret giving away Albers? I doubt it, but who knows? Baseball’s a funny game.

Mississippi

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DL’d: Travis Demeritte (#12)…The hype train was ready to leave the station this season for Demeritte, but one small problem. It left behind Demeritte, who has languished during a terrible season in Mississippi, slashing just .216/.295/.398 with 15 homers. He has struck out less – about 6% less – but that number has been climbing this summer as his batting average has declined. In his defense, a .269 BABIP is killer. In fact, it’s similar to his 2014 campaign, where he slashed .211/.310/.450. That year, his BABIP was .286. When you strike out as frequently as Demeritte does – and he’s still striking out 27.5% of the time – super low BABIP numbers will kill your average because around 30% of your plate appearances are already outs. If you are looking for another silver lining…Demeritte has hit left-hand pitching very well. That suggests a possibility – a very remote one – of Demeritte possibly pushing his way into the third base picture next spring if the Braves don’t bring in a player to take over the position. As of now, I don’t have any information as to what landed Demeritte on the DL.

Florida
DL’d: Sal Giardina…There was some thought that when Giardina was demoted at the end of July, he might be retiring. His tweet did kind of suggest that. Instead, he joined Florida, where he played first base and third base over the next several days. According to another tweet, Giardina recently was dealing with strep, which is why he missed a few games. It’s possible the trip to the DL is just an extension of that.

DL’d: Ricardo Sanchez (#31)…There have been a few good things with Sanchez’s season. His strikeout rate has climbed for the second straight season while his walk rate has declined for the third straight season. He’s getting about 7% more groundballs and his numbers would likely look a lot better if he wasn’t carrying a .358 BABIP as his FIP (4.06) and xFIP (3.69) suggests. Unfortunately, in his most recent start on Sunday, Sanchez faced two batters (retired both) and threw only seven pitches before being removed. We’ll hope for the best in regards to Sanchez, but that’s never a good sign.

Rome
Demoted to Danville and Re-promoted: Walter Borkovich…The next handful of moves were all about getting fresh arms on the Rome active roster and utilizing the Danville’s bigger roster to do so. Borkovich has appeared with Danville this season, but since his call-up a few weeks ago even though he “spent” much of last week in the Appalachian League.

Promoted from Danville: Troy Conyers…Didn’t appear for Danville so another roster management move.

Promoted from Danville: Tucker Davidson…Didn’t appear for Danville so another roster management move.

Danville
Demoted from Rome: Matt Custred…This is completely due to roster management as Custred is part of what is a very talented Rome bullpen. In fact, Custred has earned a promotion that probably should have come after last season. In 2016, Custred had a 3.18 ERA over 56.1 ING. The walks were a bit high, but he also struck out 64. A year later and his numbers are tremendously better and the 23-year-old still can’t get a call-up to Florida. Custred has solid mid-90’s heat with good movement when he keeps it down and an excellent curveball that he has a better feel of this season. The Braves are often aggressive with their best prospects so Custred languishing at Rome (with some “time” spent with Danville) suggests they don’t value him very highly.

Demoted from Rome: Taylor Hyssong…Another part of the roster shakeup as the Braves sought to pull guys off the Rome roster and put that back on. Hyssong didn’t pitch while in Low-A.

GCL

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Promoted from DSL: Yenci Pena…The 2016 J2 class keeps giving. Pena got an even million bucks to sign last year – though he signed a few weeks after Kevin Maitan and company because he didn’t turn 16 until July 13. Pena is a well-rounded prospect who does a bit of everything. The Braves liked him at shortstop in the DSL and moving forward in the GCL, we might get a glimpse into who is the higher-rated shortstop right now – Livan Soto or Pena. Soto has been the regular at shortstop this year for the GCL squad and though he hasn’t done a lot with the bat, he’s been doing a bit better of late.

DSL
Assigned: Yandri Lara…The Braves haven’t been shy about getting some of their J2 class from this year into action and Lara is the latest addition to the club. A 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Lara is listed as a third baseman and that’s about all of the information I have on him so far. He played regularly over the last week, though struggled badly with just a single in 18 AB. He walked twice and struck out a dozen times.

Suspended: Madinson Colon…Signed near the end of 2016-17 international class, Colon was in the midst of some truly awful numbers before popping positive for Stanozolol. In eight games and 7.1 ING, Colon had walked 16 and struck out just four. In his defense, one of those walks was intentional so it was really only 15 walks in 7.1 ING. Ruff. He also hit four batters and uncorked five wild pitches. So, you see, the usage of the term “performance-enhancing drug” here does not apply.

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