Braves Select Pitcher & Two Others in Rule 5 Draft

Braves Select Pitcher & Two Others in Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft was completed today and the Braves, who have been very quiet during these winter meetings, did make a few picks while losing a player in the process.

The player Atlanta lost was Joseph Odom, a five-year minor league vet who the Braves selected in the 13th round of the 2013 draft. He went to the Mariners in the minor league portion of the draft so he won’t have to be kept on the major league roster. Odom was slow to hit, but in 2016, he slashed .278/.327/.431 between Carolina and Mississippi and was a bit of a sleeper catching prospect heading into last season, but injuries limited him to just 28 games – mostly at Mississippi. He’s a decent catcher all-around but would have struggled to find at-bats with Alex Jackson, Kade Scivicque, and Brett Cumberland all likely to receive catching reps at Mississippi or Gwinnett. Odom is a good organizational guy, but a longshot to play any notable role in the majors.

Moving on to the more interesting part – what Atlanta received. Atlanta made three picks, including one in the major league phase. With the seventh pick, they selected right-hander Anyelo Gomez from the Yankees’ organization. New York, by the way, lost a total of six players during the Rule 5 draft.

Anyelo Gomez | Kenny from cervinupcards.blogspot.com. @disnalldat

Signed out of the Dominican Republic five years ago, Gomez broke out in 2017. A starter stalled by injuries and iffy play, Gomez moved to the pen full-time last season and climbed from Low-A all the way to Triple-A in one season. He finished the season with 87 strikeouts in 70.1 innings and just 21 walks. His FIP and xFIP were well below 3.00 during the season. Career-wise, he’s a 25% strikeout guy with higher totals coming out of the pen. Likewise, his 9.3% walk rate drops 1-2% in shorter bursts.

Gomez is a stuff guy. I’ve heard different reports on his fastball velocity, but the most common report is low-to-mid 90’s. However, it jumps on hitters with movement that makes it much harder to square up. Not sure if he throws a 2-seamer or 4-seamer or both, but a guy not really known for a true breaking ball who gives up just two homers must have some level of sinking movement on his heater. He controls it well and fools hitters despite knowing it’s coming – which is why his popup rate is so high. Gomez’s other pitch is a plus changeup with movement. When he can control the count, the changeup can rack up K’s. Possibly because he doesn’t rely on a breaking pitch, Gomez actually has reverse splits the last two seasons and has fared better against left-handed hitters.

Gomez joins a big group of relievers expected to compete for spots this spring. Atlanta is likely going with eight relievers, but Arodys Vizcaino, Sam Freeman, Jose Ramirez, and A.J. Minter can be penciled in to take up half of those spots. Dan Winkler, still Rule 5 eligible, impressed in September and probably will take up a fifth spot. That leaves three slots and a number of candidates, including Rex Brothers, Jason Hursh, Luke Jackson, Jacob Lindgren, Josh Ravin, and Chase Whitley. Starters who impress enough to stick around could also be in the mix. Atlanta has also been connected to free agent relievers this winter and signing just one could mean that more than a half-dozen pitchers could be vying for two spots. If Gomez impresses, his Rule 5 status may be a deciding factor.

With the selection of Gomez, the Braves now have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

Atlanta was also active in the minor league portion, drafting Skyler Ewing from the Giants and Tyler Smith from the Rangers. There are no roster restrictions when it comes to these players.

Ewing, a sixth-rounder in ’14 out of Rice, has spent the last three years in Augusta of the South Atlantic League. Last year, the first baseman returned to catching part-time – something he did at Rice. He threw out 30% of baserunners despite not catching for a few years and might be better suited for catching. 6’1″ and 225 pounds, Ewing has some power, but was not making solid enough contact to take advantage of it until last year. He posted a .372 wOBA with 13 homers, a 10.2% walk rate, and a .209 ISO. Now, a third year in low-A ball makes those accomplishments a little less impressive. It’ll be interesting to see if the Braves see him as hybrid first base/catcher moving forward or commit him one way or the other. The Braves are deathly thin at first base in the minors for whatever that’s worth. Ewing has some raw power. He’s a longshot, but there’s enough here to take a flier.

Smith was picked in the 8th round in 2013 and made his major league debut last year with a 2-for-16 run in Seattle. Waived by the Mariners, Smith was picked up by the Rangers at the trading deadline and soon pushed off their 40-man roster. Long before that, Smith followed up a big rookie-league campaign in 2013 with another solid year between High-A and Double-A in 2014, posting a wOBA near .370. His numbers have declined from there to .342 in 2015 and .298 in 2016. As he’s climbed up the ladder, he’s hit for less power and hasn’t walked nearly as much. Such results give the impression of a player who may struggle with advanced breaking pitches. But Atlanta needs depth so here he is.

Theoretically, at this point, you have to include Smith in the discussion for a utility spot this spring. Atlanta wants to find a backup option that can play a competent shortstop. Chances are they find someone better than either Smith or the recently signed Christian Colon, but right now, Smith is at least in the discussion.

Before I go, a few former Braves were picked today. This includes Victor Reyes, who went to the Tigers with the first selection of the draft. Reyes went to the Diamondbacks right before the 2015 season got going for the #75th pick. That was later used to draft A.J. Minter, which makes this another blunder from the Dave Stewart-led front office. For his part, Reyes has continued to hit – something that was expected. He doesn’t provide much power and isn’t an accomplished base stealer, but should give the Tigers a fourth outfielder option this spring.

Righty Brandon Barker also was involved in a draft pick swap. A 16th rounder in 2014, Barker was moved to the Orioles two years later along with Trevor Belicek for Brian Matusz‘s contract and the 76th overall selection of the 2016 draft. That pick later turned into Brett Cumberland. Barker had a 4.48 ERA in 122.2 innings last season – mostly spent in Double-A. He was the final pick of the day, going to the Marlins, who selected four players in the minor league portion of the draft.

The last takeaway from the Rule 5 draft relates to the players the Braves didn’t lose – namely Dustin Peterson, Travis Demeritte, and Tyler Pike. All three had their pluses and negatives and it seems clear that the negatives outweighed the positives. That was the bet the Braves made when they chose to not protect him. Furthermore, these players – and others that were Rule 5 eligible – are now again available to move in trades.

Special thanks to Kenny from the blog Cervin Up Cards for the pictures of Gomez. If you are a fan of the Yankees or baseball cards, check out his blog and/or follow him on Twitter.

11 Comments

While I have never claimed to be ‘perfect’, lol…it is VERY NICE to see my prediction regarding TD, Peterson and Tyler Pike NOT GETTING SELECTED in The Rule 5 Draft hold true! Hold the applause please……

Even if they had been selected (never doubt the stupidity of those harboring ‘pipe dream scenarios’, lol), I stated that they were candidates to be offered back to The Braves before The 2018 Season ended…because of their obvious flaws/need for further seasoning in The Minors.

While there are doubts that either of those three will pan out for The Braves….I am glad that all three stayed with The Braves. There is potential there (even if it is in a lottery ticket-like form…especially with TD, whose power potential is tantalizing…as well as Pike, whose swing and miss stuff is equally tantalizing) for all three to get their act together! Peterson in particular was disappointing in 2017! Perhaps he’ll show in 2018 that the hand injury was the reason why 2017 was so disappointing.

While not harboring any unrealistic expectations regarding Anyelo Gomez…I do feel that it was a smart move by The Braves to select him. Our pitching staff could end up being HELLA CHEAP (especially if Teheran, Folty and Vizcaino end up being traded by the beginning of The 2019 Season….big ifs…however if Gohara, Soroka, Allard and Wright all develop in 2018 as expected…that leaves only one slot available for The 2019 Rotation). Gomez, to go with the likes of Minter, Winkler, Ramirez, Clouse, Watts, Morris, etc (as well as to whichever starting pitching prospects we have whose future takes them to The Bullpen)…gives The Braves A PLETHORA of cheap, cost controlled, young bullpen candidates FOR YEARS TO COME!

I expect Max Fried to ultimately slot into an Andrew Miller-like late inning high leverage/multi inning/swing and miss type reliever (because of his potential long term health issues, given his track record of past injuries). Lucas Sims (if Teheran and Folty end up being traded by 2019 Opening Day) could be kept around to be a 5th starter…buying time for the likes of Tousiant, Wentz and Wilson to work their way up to Atlanta. Also a wild card, is Patrick Weigel…depending on how fast he recovers from his injury.

No thanks to spending precious pitching prospect capital on the likes of Chris Archer (or the overpriced free agent options like Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb). Let’s keep and develop our guys.

One name I would be open to spending significantly on during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason…is Craig Kimbrel! I’d love to see AA offer him an $18 mil a year deal….Kimbrel would be THE IDEAL closer to help solidify our bullpen when we realistically begin competing for The Playoffs starting Opening Day 2019! Other than Kimbrel…keep everything else in-house/via cheap options like The Rule 5 Draft!

Paul—-you adamantly called it and are correct sir (way to go).

We got TD for very little. Dustin same. Pike is a PTBNL.

Anything out of them would be amazing. I believe TD will turn the corner this year and get to AAA—maybe even gets to the bigs in September.

I agree in terms of keeping and developing the starters we have now before going after a ‘archer’ type.

I still don’t agree with you about harper or Machado—but if your right about the rule 5 draft….you never know.

Go Braves.

Andrew Hamrick….I’m cautiously optimistic about TD. If he only had power..that would be one thing. However the fact that he’s fast and plays stellar defense (from what I’ve heard)..makes giving him time to develop worth the investment playing time wise (the key words “playing time wise”…meaning that TD would have gotten VERY LITTLE playing time if he were stashed away on a MLB roster for all of 2018 with the intention of sending him down to Double A in 2019). TD needs to play/get 500 plus MILB at-bats in 2018. I’m sure that he’ll open 2018 back in Double A Mississippi (unless he does something amazing in Spring Training…showing that he’s used the offseason to make some adjustments).

Dustin Peterson’s hand injury basically sapped his power in 2017. He also needs 500 plus MILB at-bats in 2018 in an effort to re-establish his power (he may well turn out to be a good MLB player..however if he was stashed away on a MLB roster in 2018, he would not have been able to re-establish his power stroke).

Tyler Pike may end up having the most potential of all The Braves Rule 5 eligible prospects. However stashing him on a MLB roster for all of 2018 would have robbed him of an opportunity to work on his control (he needs 100-130 MILB innings in 2018 to develop/work on his control….in addition to probably at least a couple more MILB seasons).

The player that The Braves drafted from The Yankees today, Anyelo Gomez, is PRECISELY the type of prospect (in this case, a pitcher) a team should draft in The Rule 5 Draft: young, but already with good control..yet slated to be a reliever (not being throw into the fire/the pressure to pitch a huge amount of innings that a starting pitcher usually throws)…yet a potential candidate to be kept if The Braves end up having to offer him back to The Yankees if Gomez turns out to not be quite ready for MLB (and The Yankees decide to not want him back). However if Gomez turns out to be what Braves Management hope he is…then the $100k investment in him would be well worth it!

As far as my hope for Braves Management to open up the vault to both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper being a pipe dream…you are probably right. However, I based my ‘pipe dream’ on several ‘what ifs’ (1. our young pitching developing in 2018 as hoped/expected….2. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna both showing in 2018 that they are our version of Altuve and Correa…3. Braves Management being able to dump Matt Kemp before the beginning of The 2018 Free Agent Offseason). If any of those ‘what ifs’ dont happen…then our Rebuild would need to be extended at least another year (making the acquisition of both Machado and Harper premature).

However, regardless of what happens in 2018….The Braves should make a serious effort to sign Machado. He’ll only be 26 when The 2019 Season starts….he plays great defense/hits for a good average/hits for power (hitting behind Freddie Freeman would provide some serious lefty-righty power balance in our line-up). We can build our offense with a top 4 of Albies, Acuna, Freeman and Machado.

However if those three ‘what ifs’ do happen in 2018…then we’ll have the payroll flexibility to not only add Machado and Harper both at $35 mil a year long term contracts…but also make a push to sign Craig Kimbrel to solidify our bullpen (for $18 mil a year type deal).

After The 2018 Season..we’ll only have Freeman locked in at a relative bargain of $21 mil for each of the next three seasons. We need to take advantage of that…before we’ll have to extend him for significantly more (perhaps Braves management can approach Freeman with an extension offer sometime in The 2018 Season).

Regardless, while it may be a ‘pipe dream’ the possibility of The Braves potentially investing a combined $88 mil a year in the 3-some of Machado, Harper and Kimbrel starting in 2019….if you look at the payroll possibilities regarding our PLETHORA of young prospects slated to FLOOD our roster in the next few years (assuming we begin 2019 with a payroll of $150 mil…and subsequent years having an increased payroll of around $10-$15 mil a year, justified by an increase in revenues from the new ballpark/surrounding properties/post season revenue/a bump in local tv starting in 2027)…I feel that the math is workable!

Let’s see how 2018 plays out….then we can ‘revisit’ my Machado, Harper, Kimbrel ‘pipe dream’!

On the surface the Gomez selection is a little puzzling to me, if the Braves do indeed add a veteran RP. The stats would seem to indicate the talent’s there for him, but I can’t help but wonder where the roster spot will be for an entire year? Maybe the escalating price of relief pitching has chased the Braves out of those waters?

I’m stoked the Braves didn’t lose TD in the Rule 5, because I really want to see him elevate his game so he can hopefully start cranking some homers out of SunTrust. That’s the biggest thing for me coming out of this year’s Rule 5 draft.

There was LITTLE CHANCE that TD was going to be drafted by any MLB team in The Rule 5 Draft. TD needs SERIOUS playing time in 2018 (something he would have been denied if he was stashed away on a MLB roster). Sure, he has speed/can play defense…however wasting a season of at-bats, at his age, would curtail any hopes of TD establishing that he can be a full time, power hitting MLB player.

I’m ‘cautiously’ optimistic about TD….however he’ll have a full season of at-bats in 2018 to show if he has a chance of developing into a legit MLB hitter…or if his upside is being a bench/speed/late inning defensive replacement type player (who can occasionally hit a pinch hit homer IF the pitcher makes a mistake).

I wonder where The Braves assign him to start The 2018 Season (I would think Double A Mississippi..but it’ll depend on how aggressive Braves Management wants to be with TD).

While there are other Free Agents out there that didnt get signed at The Winter Meetings…it looks like Braves Management is going to adhere to my wishes that they simply DO NOTHING of note this offseason when it comes to ‘significantly improving’ the roster.

Go with the youngsters/platoon Garcia and Ruiz at 3rd (with Carmago as the supersub…or go with Carmago and Ruiz as the platoon if they want to cut Garcia). About the only ‘significant’ move I see Atlanta making…is trading away Markakis after the dust settles from The Free Agency Offseason (Markakis will be like a ‘consolation prize’ for a team that misses out on its targets of drastically improving its outfield offense/power production). Contrary to what AA said recently….if Markakis has a market, trading him is a NO BRAINER!

Barring that….we may end up with the same outfield as last year IF AA is serious about delaying Acuna’s Free Agent clock by 1 year (all he has to do is miss the 1st 2 weeks of the MLB season)…however he’ll also have his arbitration clock delayed by 1 year (if he stays in The Minors until early-mid June). Perhaps that is the approach that makes the most sense….if The Braves are bent on giving Kemp and Markakis plenty of playing time with the hope that either/both will play well enough to make themselves appealing enough (with The Braves eating some salary) to be traded to an AL team in need of their bat….after which Acuna would be called up to replace Markakis in Right…as well as potentially Dustin Peterson (if he rebounds in the 1st half at Triple A Gwinnett) being called up to potentially replace Kemp in left (I know, pipe dream, lol).

Regardless, unless something happens miraculously with the development of our young starting pitching (in addition to Teheran and Folty finally developing into TOR type pitchers)….2018 is a ‘answering questions for the future’ type of year! We are not going to The Playoffs in 2018.

Just stay pat (look for Coppy-like ‘diamond in the rough-type trades’ that are potential lottery ticket-like moves…like BOTH The Gohara-Burrows/Alex Jackson-Tyler Pike trades that turned into HUGELY ONE SIDED trades for The Braves)…and see if 2018 develops to the point where The 2018 Free Agent Offseason makes sense for Braves Management to turn to to add SIGNIFICANT PIECES in an effort to seriously make a playoff push starting Opening Day 2019!

I’m excited for Spring Training AND The Regular Season (as well as seeing some Triple A games on The MILB Season Pass (it’s only $20 to add IF you subscribe to The MLB Season Pass, which cost like $110 last year). $130 for a whole season of MLB/MILB baseball…is a big bargain! Games everyday (whether online/your tv). As much as I love The NFL….The NFL Ticket is a HUGE RIPOFF (especially when I can easily turn to free sources like ‘firstrowsports.eu to watch virtually any sport I can for free). I have no problem paying for The MLB-MILB package..because of the quality of the streams AND not having to deal with the hassle of popup ads (like on the firstrowsports.eu site). However if I’m only going to watch one game a week (I’m a big Dallas Cowboys fan…if they arent on National TV that week, I’ll go through the trouble of accessing firstrowsports.eu). However I also have Sirus/XM Radio…and can easily listen to any game I want. The point is….given the number of baseball games MLB has (162)…and THE PLETHORA of pitching prospects The Braves have in AAA, AA, High A..even in Low A (along with a number of recently drafted hitting prospects like Drew Waters, who may start the year in Low A ball)….forking over $130 for over 6 months of pretty much everyday Braves baseball (whether MLB or MIIB) is a BIG BARGAIN/BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!

Keep up the good work AA! Learn as much as you can about our young prospects….and give them a chance to SHINE/DEVELOP with The Braves in 2018. Please be patient DUDE! Have faith that Coppy and his scouts (for all their faults) knew what they were doing when they drafted these guys from 2015-17 (those three Drafts could end up going down as potentially HISTORIC Drafts by one team). Let The Braves get the benefits from those players we drafted!

Anyelo Gomez alone isn’t my idea of a fun off-season, so I’ll be keeping my cash and just checking in on the Braves online, if this indeed is it as far as additions go.

Which is why I can’t see the Braves not doing something kinda big. I don’t want them to make a move just to make a move, but it’s going to be hard to drive up ticket sales after a miserable offseason especially with the shine on STP no longer so bright.

Tommy Poe…the big ‘moves’ will come during the season, when Ronald Acuna gets called up (it looks like AA is going to delay Acuna’s service clock by at least 2 weeks/maybe as long as 2 months…while going with Kemp and Markakis to open The 2018 Season in the corner outfield)….as well as a full season of Albies, Gohara, Minter…in addition to possible callups in Soroka, Allard and possibly Wright (in addition to any fast risers who simulate how fast both Gohara and Acuna rose from High Class A in 2017).

The play of the youngsters..is what’s going to build the excitement at Sun Trust Field throughout the summer (and into The 2018 Free Agent Offseason when, if our youngsters progress as expected, Braves Management will surely be PLAYERS).

However, there is a chance that AA is waiting for the prices to drop on some of these pricey Free Agents (as well as any trade interests they may have on other teams). If that is the case..than AA can afford to be patient/play the waiting game…because he isnt under any pressure to contend in 2018. If an unexpected/affordable opportunity arises to sign a Free Agent/trade for the right player..then of course AA will have no problem taking advantage of a good opportunity. However, that is a BIG IF there!

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