The Braves under Alex Anthopoulos have been very reluctant to trade “top prospects” even if their path to the major leagues was blocked or at least tough. AA valued the team control of these young guys very highly and up until today, he hadn’t parted with a consensus top 10 guy in the Braves system.
Emphasis on until today.
Not since the John “Wheel and Deal” Coppolella era have we seen a trade close to the magnitude of what the Braves pulled off in acquiring Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics and most of those trades were the Braves getting a bunch of prospects back and not the other way around. However, we must now take stock in what the Braves gave up to get Olson’s services, so below is a quick synopsis of the prospects the Braves just traded away.
Pache has been one of, if not the best prospects in the Braves farm system for a long time. He has exceptional raw physical gifts and is probably the best overall defender in the entire minor leagues. He has speed and power although both didn’t always play on the offensive side of the ball. However, his hit tool is a real question mark as the shine has come off of his prospectdom and he may benefit from a change in scenery.
Langeliers is a very, very good catching prospect. He has a cannon for an arm that he uses to control the running game very effectively and he has earned a lot of plaudits for his work with pitching staffs and improving his game calling. Langeliers also has real power in his bat although the hit tool isn’t a carry tool. He does have a high baseball IQ and that should help him refine his approach and at the end of the day, the offensive bar for catchers isn’t super high to begin with.
The Braves just pick Cusick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft primarily because of his fastball that hits the triple digits with regularity. His breaking stuff is hard and gets plenty of swings and misses and he has been working on a changeup that he hopes will help his case to stay as a starter. It comes down to that third pitch and whether or not he can continue to refine his command as to whether or not he stays in the rotation, but even if he ends up as a reliever...he has a chance to be a high leverage guy with his stuff.
Not as well known a prospect as the other three guys in the package, but Estes was arguably the best player the Braves had in low-A this year along with Vaughn Grissom. He posted a 2.91 ERA in 99 innings last year with 127 strikeouts and just 29 walks. His fastball generally lives in the mid-90’s but can go a tick higher, a wipeout slider, and an improving, if inconsistent changeup that can be a bit too firm at times.