MLB.com put together a list of the best gift that every team has received. For the Braves, you go back to 1990 when Todd Van Poppel showed reluctance about the possibility of the Braves drafting him with the No. 1 overall pick. The Braves went on to use the first pick on Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones instead.
Van Poppel was widely predicted to be the top pick in the 1990 MLB Draft. But every time Bobby Cox, Hank Aaron or anybody from the Braves organization spoke to the 6-foot-5 high school pitcher, Van Poppel said he planned to pitch at the University of Texas. This led Atlanta to instead use the first overall selection on Chipper Jones, who spent the following two decades becoming one of the franchise’s most beloved icons. Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only players to be elected to the Hall of Fame after being taken with the first pick of any MLB Draft. Van Poppel produced a negative WAR (-0.3) and was used primarily as a reliever while producing a 5.58 ERA over 11 big league seasons (907 innings).
2021 Season in Review
There is reportedly talk within the industry that the New York Mets will trade at least one of infielder Jeff McNeil or first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith after the lockout.
Right-hander Dan Straily turned down a contract offer to remain in the KBO for a third season and is reportedly looking to return to the majors in 2022.
The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a minor league contract with catcher Tomas Telis earlier this month. Telis spent the last three seasons in the Twins organization but hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2018.
The New York Yankees signed catcher David Freitas to a minor league deal. Freitas began the 2021 season playing in the KBO where he hit .259/.297/.394 in 148 plate appearances before he was cut loose in June. He then latched on with the Rays on a minor league deal and finished the season with their Triple-A affiliate before electing free agency at the end of the season.