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Atlanta Braves news and links - 7/16

Prospects are on the docket, and we look towards the trade deadline!

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Braves News:

The Talking Chop prospect rankings begin

That's right folks, it's that time of the year where we gather around and look towards the future of the Atlanta Braves. Eric and Garrett have teamed up to countdown the top 25 prospects currently grinding their way through the Braves' organization. Today brings us prospects 25-16. Here is 25-21, led off by Kyle Kinman, and here is 20-16. Make sure to follow along for the rest of the rankings, you don't want to miss out.

Who is the next breakout prospect for Atlanta?

Let's stick to prospects, because it's always fun to think in the future rather than the present, right? Sure it is. While we've got the top 25 currently churning, there's a litany of youngsters in the minors that we may be seeing on a top prospect list soon. Garrett went from Triple-A all the way down to Gulf Coast League to take a player from each team that could be breaking out sometime soon.

Braves news, rumors and updates heading towards the trade deadline

The trade deadline is just 15 days away, and the Braves have a handful of options heading into it - even after the flurry of moves they made this past off-season. It seemed like the Braves were destined for a rebuild this season after shipping out half their team, but it looks like they're actually contenders. Naturally, the question arises: does John Hart & Co. continue with the rebuild, or do you roll the dice on a playoff push this season? One name which has been in rumors in the past few weeks is the excelling Cameron Maybin. Kyle Newport of Bleacher Report looks into his trade value:

The Braves don't have to trade Maybin. If they believe that he has finally arrived, they can keep him for two more seasons. He is signed for $8 million next season and has a $9 million team option ($1 million buyout) for 2017. If Atlanta isn't sold on him, it could trade him while his stock is at an all-time high.

Predictions for the second half off the season

The All-Star game has come and gone, which means the second half of the season is set to begin. There's a lot that stand between today and the end of the season, mainly the trade deadline and the question of if Atlanta will continue to be contenders, or fold into pretenders. Atlanta All Day made five predictions heading forward, many of which deal with the July 31st trade deadline.

MLB News:

MLB: open to expansion?

The world of sports is one of the biggest money markets in the country, especially baseball. So for Rob Manfred, growing and expanding that market seems like a no-brainer. There is, obviously, no concrete information that expansion is imminent, but the commissioner certainly isn't shying away from it:

"Maybe one of the reasons I got this job is, I’m bullish on this game," Manfred said. "I think we are a growthBUSINESS, broadly defined. And over an extended period of time, growth businesses look to get bigger. So yeah, I’m open to the idea that there will be a point in time where expansion may be possible."

Jon Heyman makes his postseason award predictions

It seems that in today's world of sports, predictions are what field fans and media more than anything else. Now at the mid-season point in the 2015 MLB season, CBSSports' Jon Heyman makes his predictions for the major post-season awards (and a few made up awards, as well).

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