Braves beat writer Mark Bowman weighs in with some information on how Atlanta is likely to approach the Trade Deadline, with the expectation being that they will target a bench bat, relief help, and possibly a starting pitcher.
Bowman speculates that Atlanta has accumulated enough pitching depth that they would consider offering Kolby Allard, Ian Anderson and Max Fried in a deal that would bring back an above-average return. He says that it would be much more difficult to pry away some of the team’s younger arms like Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint or Bryse Wilson.
The third installment of the Talking Chop Midseason Top 30 Prospects list was released on Wednesday, with several intriguing names making the cut, including new draftee Greyson Jenista.
15.) Greyson Jenista
Heading into this spring there was a real question about which Wichita State slugger would be drafted higher, Jenista or third overall selection Alec Bohm. While Bohm went third and Jenista dropped into the second round, heading into the spring this was a real question.
Jenista had two great years at Wichita State in 2016 and 2017, posting OPS marks of .902 and .922 and never hitting below .320. He then went to the Cape Cod League and won MVP of the most prestigious summer league in the country with a slash line of .310/.391/.401. Unfortunately Jenista pressed a little in his draft year and only hit .309/.446/.475 with seven doubles and nine homers. Not bad, but not elite production in the American Athletic Conference.
Jenista slid to the second round where the Braves quickly grabbed him. He’s made Brian Bridges and company look smart as he’s hit .265/.337/.482 with two doubles, two triples, and four homers in his first 22 career pro games.
Offensively, Jenista needs to make some small tweaks, but overall has the upside to be a true middle of the order run producer. Jenista is a potentially plus hitter who can hit line drives all over the field and took walks more often than he struck out in college. Jenista also has big plus plus power inside that he is in the middle of tapping into more frequently in games.
He’s more athletic than his 6’4”, 240 pound frame indicates, and while he isn’t a lock to remain in the outfield over a future move to first base, we do think he will be able to stay in the outfield.
Jenista is in Rome now and he probably finishes the year there and starts 2019 in Florida. If everything breaks right for him, getting to the big leagues in 2019 wouldn’t be impossible- but we expect to see him in 2020.
Our own Demetrius Bell looks at how the Braves are positioned as the second-half begins, and why they should pursue upgrades to build around a strong nucleus at the Trade Deadline. The club is currently one-half game out of first place, and even marginal upgrades could aid in pushing them into the playoffs. Though they are a surprise contender that is maybe a year early, the potential for a playoff berth is worth pursuing aggressively in the coming weeks.
The Dodgers acquired Manny Machado on Wednesday, which strengthens an already loaded roster even more. The price paid for Machado did not include any Major League assets, but did require Yusniel Diaz, a star in the making according to evaluators.
The 21-year-old Diaz is the centerpiece for the Orioles, and the Dodgers spent $31 million in bonus and taxes to sign him out of Cuba. Two homers in Sunday’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game showed that his one lagging tool, power, is not so lagging.
Several Top 100 prospects are mentioned in this MLB.com writeup as potential trade pieces, with a familiar name among them:
Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves
Top 100 Ranking: No. 48
The Braves still have oh-so-much pitching depth in their farm system, but we’ll pick Allard as the most likely to be moved in a significant deal. The 20-year-old lefty has zoomed to Triple-A, where he owns a 2.85 ERA this year, living up to his pedigree as a 2015 first-round pick.
Dangling Allard would help Atlanta address its biggest needs: an elite late-inning arm with years of control, like Hand or Iglesias; or a third baseman (perhaps Mike Moustakas or Adrian Beltre?) who can help this year before prospect Austin Riley is ready, likely by early 2019.
With other prospect arms like Luiz Gohara and Max Fried, who already have big league time, and Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Joey Wentz and 2018 breakout pitcher Touki Toussaint, who are quickly moving through the Minors, the Braves could move Allard and still have more prospect pitching depth than just about any organization.
Besides, there’s only so much room in Atlanta’s rotation for 2019 and beyond. “With Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb and Julio Teheran returning next year,” as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes, “they really only need two of these MLB-ready prospects for the start of next season.”