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Braves news and links: Top Prospects, Bench competition and more

Keith Law ranks the Braves’ top prospects, the bench competition is shaping up and more in today’s news roundup.

Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Braves News

Keith Law releases his Top 25 Atlanta Braves prospects list

Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies headline the list while Ronald Acuna makes a big leap forward. Despite the big names, the most impressive part of these types of lists for the Braves is the overall depth of the system. Law has guys like Austin Riley, Travis Demeritte and Kyle Muller outside the Top 20 which illustrates that fact.

An interview with Braves prospect Max Fried

On the subject of prospects, Grant McAuley caught up with Braves lefty prospect Max Fried at the recent Rome Braves hot stove event. Fried discussed a number of topics including his road back from Tommy John surgery to the internal competition between he and the rest of Rome’s talented starting rotation.

“Every day. Between Patrick [Weigel], Kolby [Allard], Mike [Soroka] and Touki [Toussaint], every day we were having some kind of competition, whether it was playing catch or in bullpens, watching each other day-in, day-out on their starts. Someone goes six shut-out innings, you want to go seven shut-out innings. You want to one-up them, not to show off, but to push it and help the team do better. I think that’s a very important part of your season, because if you don’t have any kind of motivation or someone to push you, you kind of get complacent and laid back. I’m very thankful these guys were all there pushing me and I was pushing them. Obviously, it came out pretty good.”

Talking Chop Podcast Episode 49: Analyzing Top 100 prospect lists, with Scott Coleman

Brad and Carlos are joined by Talking Chop's longest-tenured writer, and smartest person, Scott Coleman. The three start the podcast off with some chat about Braves legends Jeff Francoeur and Kris Medlen before diving into the Top 100 prospect lists from ESPN's Keith Law and MLB Pipeline.

The Braves 2017 draft slots and bonus pools have been released

Atlanta will head into the 2017 MLB Draft with the 9th largest bonus pool with just over $9.4 million. The Braves own the fifth overall pick which has a slot value of just over $5.4 million.

Braves considering options for likely 4-man bench’s Mark Bowman reports that Atlanta is likely to go with a four-man bench to start the season. Kurt Suzuki will occupy one of those roster spots. Jace Peterson also appears likely to claim a roster spot as either the team’s second baseman or as a utility player. That will leave three internal candidates Chase d’Arnaud, Micah Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio competing for the remaining spots.

d'Arnaud, Johnson and Bonifacio stand as the top three internal candidates who will battle for the final two bench spots. But instead of entering the season with Peterson or any of these three other candidates as the only options to regularly pinch-hit for pitchers, the Braves will continue to evaluate the possibility of adding Jeff Francoeur, Kelly Johnson or another more proven hitter into the mix.

On the possibility of adding Francouer or Johnson to the mix, Bowman mentions that the Braves have been unwilling to offer either a major league deal to this point.

Braves make Suzuki signing official

The Braves officially announced the addition of Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $1.5 million deal on Monday.

MLB News

MLB awards two picks, $2 million to Astros in hacking scandal ruling

Major League Baseball handed out penalties to the St. Louis Cardinals for the hacking scandal against the Houston Astros that sent a former St. Louis employee to federal prison for 46 months.

The league sanctioned St. Louis in three ways:

Chris Correa, the Cardinals’ former scouting director at the center of the scandal, will be placed on the permanently ineligible list effective immediately.

The Cardinals’ two highest available selections in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft (their 2nd-round selection [pick no. 56] and Competitive Balance Round B selection [pick no. 75]) will be awarded to the Astros.

The Cardinals will pay the Astros the sum of $2 million within 30 days.

Angels, Bud Norris Agree To Minor League Deal

Former Braves pitcher Bud Norris is headed to Anaheim on a minor league deal with the Angels. Norris will be looking to compete for a spot in the Angels’ starting rotation at spring training.

Norris began the 2016 season with the Braves. He struggled in April and lost his spot in Atlanta’s rotation before finding himself as a reliever. He returned to the rotation and the Braves traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers where his struggles returned.

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