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The Brave One
06-30-2008, 03:56 PM
The Untouchables
by gondeee on Jun 30, 2008 7:01 AM EDT in News

If indeed the rest of the NL East continues to allow us to stay in the division race, and Frank Wren and company decide to go out and pick up what the Braves need most at the trade deadline (an impact bat), who will we have available to trade. Better yet, which of our young players would we be willing to part with? After all, this is the all or nothing year for the Braves, with key veteran players like Smoltz, Glavine, Teixeira, and Kotsay likely exiting this off-season.

The Braves know that in the coming years they need to rebuild their starting pitching, and for the Braves that generally starts on the farm. The biggest up and comer for Atlanta is Tommy Hanson, who recently threw a 14-strikeout no-hitter at double-A, and might be ready to make his major league debut as early as this season. Regardless of when he debuts he will likely be one of the young pitchers the Braves call on to rebuild their rotation and he should be a solid contributor by late 2009. With what his upside looks like, I say Tommy Hanson is untouchable.

What about the pitchers who are already in the majors? With the way Jair Jurrjens has pitched this year mark him down as untouchable. How about Jo-Jo Reyes and Charlie Morton? My guess is that the Braves would be willing to part with one, but not both of those guys, for the right return. A less attractive but tradable pitcher is Chuck James, who is proving to be more of a four-A player as he has put up a 1.69 ERA in nine games spanning 48 innings for Richmond without allowing a homerun; this after giving up seven homers in just 23 major league innings this year (and a whopping 32 homeruns in 161.1 major league innings last year). Still, James’ good work at Richmond could make him attractive to several teams.

I would venture a guess that every other pitcher in the Braves organization not named Teheran is available; even Cole Rohrbough and Jeff Locke – though the return on those two guys would have to be significant.

As for position player prospects that might be available the list may be even greater and the untouchable list shorter. First up is Jason Heyward, who is probably the most untouchable prospect in the Braves organization. Much like the Braves would likely only trade one of either Morton or Reyes, they would likely also listen in on either Jordan Schafer or Gorkys Hernandez, but not both. Many Braves fans are going ga-ga for Gorkys, but he might be the most tradable prospect in our minor league system, and with Schafer already ahead of him on the center field depth chart, Wren may be getting the most offers for the talented young center fielder. Apparently after we acquired him this past off-season several teams inquired immediately as to his availability. Gorkys is probably the prospect the Braves would prefer to trade at the deadline as he doesn’t deplete their pitching depth and plays at a position of organizational depth.

Another player position combo which the Braves could move one of two guys is at shortstop with either Yunel Escobar or Brent Lillibridge being possibly made available. While Escobar has made a big impact in the majors, the presence of Lillibridge, who has only to be given playing time to prove he can hit in the majors, means that Yunel could be swapped for more power or a better combination of speed and power bats. Odds are that Escobar will not be the one moved, but recent youthful attitude outbursts may loosen the Braves’ feelings on his possible previous untouchable status.

To recap, my list of the only untouchable players in the Braves system are as follows:
Jair Jurrjens
Jason Heyward
Tommy Hanson
Julio Teheran

… and of course the major league core of McCann, Chipper, and Hudson. Everyone else, in my opinion, is available… for the right return.

The way the Braves are playing from one day to the next seems to change the argument as to whether we should be sellers or buyers as the trade deadline nears. I’ve already made the argument that we are well positioned to be sellers and get a high return on several of our veterans free agents, but the exact opposite is also true. If we choose to be buyers at the trade deadline then once again our farm system has put us in a good position to make some moves to help us acquire the player or players we need. The depth of that farm system has also made it so that there are very few untouchable player and prospects.

In the comments let me know who you think our untouchable players are.

CrippledRam
06-30-2008, 04:08 PM
Seems about right. But Jo-Jo is untouchable to me right now. CJ, Lilli, CR for Bay (if Pitt wants Lilli back)?

Saltyfan
06-30-2008, 04:43 PM
Untouchable prospects are:
JJ
JoJo
Schafer
Teheran
Gorkys
HEYWARD

jmtapia
06-30-2008, 05:35 PM
Here is my list of untochables:

Heyward
Taheran
JJ
JoJo
Hanson
Schafer
Gorkys
Rohrbough

The only i can see maybe going is CR. If the deal is right it would be very hard to trade him but he would be the one to go. However, i think the Braves want to see how he can do in a full season of pro ball. He has been injured this season first with some elbow tendinitis (i believe) and now with a sore ankle. IMO Rourbough's value is very low. If we let him pitch for half a season he prove to be teh corner piece to another deal later on or most likely jump to the untouchable label or Heyward and Teheran.

That being said we have a ton of prospects that we can take advantage of in trade talks. Notably Lilli, BJ and Morton whom can head line a deal with out including one of our top prospects.

braves790
06-30-2008, 07:27 PM
What about Freeman how is he not untouchable?

dbroncs-abraves
06-30-2008, 07:33 PM
What about Freeman how is he not untouchable?

because of the 1st basemen we have in the system

rtgthree
06-30-2008, 08:08 PM
I just want to offer a different take on a couple guys. Now I am NOT saying these guys are "untouchable", but I do think that it COULD POSSIBLY be unwise to trade them right now.

1) Brandon Jones...if there is one thing I trust, it's the Braves' judgment on prospects. Of ALL the endless "top prospects" that we have traded, only two real fish got away (Jermaine Dye and Jason Schmidt). So it says something to me that Jones was reportedly made "untouchable" LAST YEAR when the team was in negotiations to get Mark Teixeira. We were willing to give up Andrus and Harrison, who were both ranked higher, and so far the front office was right about those guys (they are both struggling in Texas' system). But we were unwilling to let Jones go. I think that ought to be a point in his favor.

2) Brent Lillibridge...I am as frustrated with him as anybody else here. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus summed up his season so far: "He got off to a bad start at Richmond, began pressing, and now seems to be trapped in a death spiral." His numbers from AAA are downright awful, and he's looked little better now that he's been promoted to the big show. So it follows that his trade value is next to nothing. BUT all his (considerable) tools are still there, and he's still young enough to turn things around if he can just pop himself out of that death spiral. And he was even showing signs of it at AAA, hitting .297 and slugging .568 in the ten games prior to his callup. And let's not forget he had a rough first half last year as well. Even though he's blocked, I think there's potential to make a mistake trading him because his value is literally almost as low as it could possibly be.

3) Charlie Morton...Morton never registered even a blip on the prospect radar until the Arizona Fall League last year. Since he's so new on the scene, I think there's a good chance that other organizations won't really know what kind of talent he is, and as a result he's worth more to us if we keep him and let him try to reach his #2/#3 potential in our own organization.

Now I realize that these are the guys that keep coming up in the trade proposals that everyone throws around on these boards. And I am NOT NOT NOT saying all those proposals are bad ideas...I'm simply pointing out some reasons why it might be in the organization's best interests to keep these guys around rather than ship them off.

Bravesman11
06-30-2008, 08:40 PM
I just want to offer a different take on a couple guys. Now I am NOT saying these guys are "untouchable", but I do think that it COULD POSSIBLY be unwise to trade them right now.

1) Brandon Jones...if there is one thing I trust, it's the Braves' judgment on prospects. Of ALL the endless "top prospects" that we have traded, only two real fish got away (Jermaine Dye and Jason Schmidt). So it says something to me that Jones was reportedly made "untouchable" LAST YEAR when the team was in negotiations to get Mark Teixeira. We were willing to give up Andrus and Harrison, who were both ranked higher, and so far the front office was right about those guys (they are both struggling in Texas' system). But we were unwilling to let Jones go. I think that ought to be a point in his favor.

Adam Wainwright as well.

nps6724
06-30-2008, 09:04 PM
I wouldn't even say Jason Schmidt "got away". The only years he was ever truly good started when he was traded to San Francisco in the middle '01 until '04. Outside of that chunk of time, he was average at best. He was an innings eater, though. He never even had an ERA under 4 until '02 when he was 29. He just took so long to actually develop into a top-of-the-line starter and it was only after he left his 2nd team (Pittsburgh) and now at 34 it looks like he's done.

Dye is the only other one besides Wainwright I think we really missed on by trading him too early. If it weren't for injuries, he'd have been a perennial All Star IMO. What hurts the mos is all we got was Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart. UGH.

THE_FLASH_21
07-01-2008, 10:27 AM
Dye is the only other one besides Wainwright I think we really missed on by trading him too early. If it weren't for injuries, he'd have been a perennial All Star IMO. What hurts the mos is all we got was Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart. UGH.


:speechless::speechless::speechless::speechless: Man I had thought we got more for that deal......

THE_FLASH_21
07-01-2008, 10:28 AM
((The Brave One)) Ur list is right on the money!! But i'd have to agree with some of my fellow Braves fans that Jo-Jo is untouchable!

tomno00
07-01-2008, 10:38 AM
at 18 years old (same age as heyward) freeman is batting .289 with 11 hr's and only 44 SO in 305 AB's.

cody johnson has struck out 113 times in 282 AB's

Freeman is a keeper if you ask me. At 18, he is putting up some real good numbers.

robdogg035
07-01-2008, 11:13 AM
I agree, the other first baseman in our farm system are not major league material IMO.

jmtapia
07-01-2008, 01:16 PM
at 18 years old (same age as heyward) freeman is batting .289 with 11 hr's and only 44 SO in 305 AB's.

cody johnson has struck out 113 times in 282 AB's

Freeman is a keeper if you ask me. At 18, he is putting up some real good numbers.

Cody has been doing very well as of late. He is still hitting in a league for his age which is great. In his last 10 G he is hitting .300 and has even limited his SO to about 1 a game which is a huge gain. He also has 15+ 2B and 12 HR to lead all our ROME hitters. The guy has more power then any one in our system and if he can continue to limit his SOs he will has as much potential as Heyward does. Big if but it seems his headed in the right direction.

jmtapia
07-01-2008, 01:18 PM
I agree, the other first baseman in our farm system are not major league material IMO.

Check Mejia's numbers in A+. Im on his band wagon.

BRAVE KID
07-01-2008, 01:48 PM
I agree, the other first baseman in our farm system are not major league material IMO.I beg to differ, these first baseman prospects are not scrubs they can play, starting from canza to freeman. KK (AA) looks like he is finally going to turn it around and if you forgot (or weren't aware of) he was rated #4 first baseman prospect in the minors, mejia is nothing to ignore, and canza (AAA) has been producing ever since he got at AAA, the cuban defect has a shot to start for atlanta next year.

robdogg035
07-01-2008, 04:25 PM
i stand corrected then...i know of all of them, i just for one haven't been super impressed with any of them...i really hope you're right about them...and i was agreeing that freeman is really good

jmtapia
07-01-2008, 04:43 PM
I beg to differ, these first baseman prospects are not scrubs they can play, starting from canza to freeman. KK (AA) looks like he is finally going to turn it around and if you forgot (or weren't aware of) he was rated #4 first baseman prospect in the minors, mejia is nothing to ignore, and canza (AAA) has been producing ever since he got at AAA, the cuban defect has a shot to start for atlanta next year.

I know we like Barbaro a whole lot but he wont start for us next year. The guy is descent offensively but is a defensive liability. We all know how much Cox values his Defense. Plus he was born in 1974 not 1979!!!!

Braves will find a Major Leaguer to bridge the gap in 1B. Plus if we let Tex know we can Afford it!!!!!!!


Barbaro Canizares was signed before the 2006 season after he defected from Cuba. Barbaro has a very good bat, but his defense is a problem. He can play some at first and in an emergency in the outfield, but hitting is his specialty. He is probably more of an American League player, but Canizares does have hitting ability that could get some attention.

runningcircles
07-01-2008, 06:08 PM
I don't know if it's just because of what I've seen some of the small market teams, most notably Oakland and Minnesota, or just the way the game seems to have changed in recent years, to where younger players SEEM (IMO) to be having a much more immediate impact than in years past, or if it's just that I don't see that much available on the trade market at a position of need for us, but I really wish that it would work out where we stand pat at the deadline (unless we can pick up another quality arm in the pen to pitch the 8th inning because with Moylan out for the year and the ongoing strange issues surrounding Soriano, but with our late inning struggles and the huge injuries this year to our pen I do think another pitcher who has proven he can handle the late innings could be a huge asset later in the year).

I've heard Bay's name tossed around here a few times and I do agree he COULD be a huge addition to our ballclub (seems to score a hundred and drive in a hundred every year and hit .280 every year, along with being a right handed hitter who can hit for both power and contact, and having a little speed) I also have noticed some pretty big dips in his numbers over the last few years (both power and speed). Some of that could be due to his team being out of it pretty much from day 1 every year or injuries (I know he was hurt last year, I dont know if he was DL'd or not but I remember playing Pittsburgh and our announcers commenting on how he'd been playing hurt for some time), but I don't think he's a guy we sell the farm for. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure his contract runs out after next year, meaning we probably won't re-sign him, so IMO, if we can get him for a few of our blocked prospects, who our front office feels are at a peak value and may not reach the potential some of our other guys will reach, I say we do the deal, get a right handed bat that gives us the depth we PROBABLY need considering our injuries this year and really protects us if/when Kotsay has to miss more time this year with his back (I know he doesn't play center, but Blanco can play center with him playing left field and Diaz being our 4th OF). It also allows us to have another solid bat in the lineup (and righthanded at that) that can hit in front of Tex if Chipper is hurt or, more likely, swap positions with Frenchy as our 5th/6th hitting platoon with McCann depending on whether the starter we are up against is left handed or a righty).

However, if Pittsburgh is asking for too much, I'd just as soon leave our farm (which I feel is VERY talented, many of which are either on the brink, or a year or two away from being at the brink, from being ready to contribute at the ML level), I'd just as soon leave the team alone and let this team, as currently assembled either get healthy and make a serious run, or continue to be hurt and fall out of this thing all together. I guess I just really think our team is pretty talented and has it in them to make a run, but everybody that CAN get healthy (Chipper, Kotsay, Diaz, and Soriano) get healthy, along with Gonzo staying healthy (a MUST) and perhaps even getting something out of some guys most of us are NOT expecting to get healthy AND contribute much (Glavine, Hampton) get healthy and allow us to have that much more pitching depth. I just think if this team gets healthy it can make a serious run, but if it doesn't, we aren't just one decent player away from being that solid of a team. Now, if Pittsburgh is willing to throw in a Marte from the pen I would be much more happy with giving up more, and if we could somehow pry a starter with the stuff of either Gorzellany or Ian Snell (really love this guy's stuff and think he could be a HUGE addition to our staff for MANY years to come), I would be willing to give up what we gave up last year for Tex.

More importantly, I really just wish we would go ahead and do whatever I'm sure our front office is pretty sure is going to happen this offseason with Tex. If we are pretty sure we are going to make the offer needed to keep him with us long-term, we could handle losing one or two of those first base prospects we have, because, besides losing Chipper in possibly a year or two (along with his injury woes every year) and needing a ML ready 3rd baseman (which could be solidified with Esco or Lilli at 3rd and the other at short), I just see our team being COMPLETELY set for the next five years if we are somehow able to keep a guy like Tex at first base for the next five years. If we are pretty sure we are NOT going to be able to keep him long-term, and we are still playing the way we are not at the deadling (along with continuing to be injury prone), I really want us to find a suitor to deal Tex to, that includes a ML ready, young first baseman and a quality, young starting pitcher.

I would just really really hate to give up what we gave up last year (I don't know what somebody was posting on here earlier but besides Salty's struggles this year, the rest of the package we gave up for Tex last year seems to be pretty much DOMINATING at the different minor league levels they are at this year), give up more for a decent, not great player this year who also won't be here longer than a year and a half, continue to struggle this year, miss the playoffs completely (or even somehow make the postseason and exit early again), and then lose Tex for nothing in the offseason. I really think our team , with the emergence of this young, talented pitching rotation this year, is either set at every position or will be set at every position over the next 2 to 3 years besides first base. Keeping a cleanup, switch hitter, at a position where we do not have a guy that can definitely produce next season at, with all the money we have coming off the books next season (along with what we gave up for the guy) is, IMO, a MUST unless we get something for him at the deadline this year.

rtgthree
07-01-2008, 10:09 PM
(I don't know what somebody was posting on here earlier but besides Salty's struggles this year, the rest of the package we gave up for Tex last year seems to be pretty much DOMINATING at the different minor league levels they are at this year)

Don't have time to respond to this whole post, but:

Salty's struggles have been pretty well publicized. He's still young, but right now he ain't hitting.

Elvis Andrus is hitting .279/.339/.337,and there's nothing special about a .676 OPS, even if you are a Gold Glove-caliber fielder. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus: "Scouts are tired of hearing about how young and toolsy he is; he’s at Double-A and it’s time to produce."

Matt Harrison is shy of six strikeouts per nine across AA and AAA. That's not what anyone would call "dominating". He might cut it as a fifth starter someday. Maybe.

Beau Jones was just sort of a project throw-in. It's working out pretty well for the Rangers, but ultimately he's just a relief prospect who is a very slim bet to ever close, which makes him a pretty marginal property.

Neftali Feliz is the one that got away. We should have known better than to trade a Latin American teenager with fluid mechanics and 98 MPH gas. But overall, it's a total stretch to say all these guys are dominating. Feliz is the only one we're ever going to miss.

runningcircles
07-02-2008, 06:53 PM
Don't have time to respond to this whole post, but:

Salty's struggles have been pretty well publicized. He's still young, but right now he ain't hitting.

Elvis Andrus is hitting .279/.339/.337,and there's nothing special about a .676 OPS, even if you are a Gold Glove-caliber fielder. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus: "Scouts are tired of hearing about how young and toolsy he is; he’s at Double-A and it’s time to produce."

Matt Harrison is shy of six strikeouts per nine across AA and AAA. That's not what anyone would call "dominating". He might cut it as a fifth starter someday. Maybe.

Beau Jones was just sort of a project throw-in. It's working out pretty well for the Rangers, but ultimately he's just a relief prospect who is a very slim bet to ever close, which makes him a pretty marginal property.

Neftali Feliz is the one that got away. We should have known better than to trade a Latin American teenager with fluid mechanics and 98 MPH gas. But overall, it's a total stretch to say all these guys are dominating. Feliz is the only one we're ever going to miss.

Either way, I do agree that no matter what they do in the minors, they are still just prospects until they actually produce at the ML level. I do remember however during the Rangers series them showing the stats of all the kids in the deal last year and how they are doing this year, and while Feliz and Jones were doing the best Andrus and Harrison were having solid season's as well. Also, we've done very well in the past at trading prospects at their peak value, and our track record proves we know, for the most part, which kids to hold onto and which to let go of.

I agree that Harrison is at best a bottom of the order starter, so we shouldn't miss him unless he exceeds most people's expectations. Jones was a throw-in, so unless this year becomes the norm rather than the exception, we shouldn't miss him either. Not to mention none of these pitchers, with the exception of perhaps Feliz seem to be a front of the line starter in the making, and I feel we have plenty of young arms both in our current rotation and at the minor league level who have the talent to be a middle, to bottom of the rotation type starter at the ML level, meaning we shouldn't miss any of the pitchers we gave up. Andrus, however, was being talked about during that series as being ML ready with the glove, with work still to do at the plate. I think I remember them saying he was racking up the steals this year but I'm really not sure. They talked as if he would be on the Rangers roster though, playing shortstop, as soon as the beginning of next season. He's so young, who knows what kind of career he'll have hitting wise, and we already have a ML caliber shortstop, defensively AND offensively (above average defensively, perhaps also offensively), so not much room for him next season anyway.

For those of you saying we should make a run at a player like Jason Bay, what are your thoughts on Matt Holliday? I think he also has another year on his contract, meaning he'd be another middle of the lineup bat who would do a much better job at replacing Tex next year than Bay, because of his high average. What kind of a package would it take to get him this year and do you think he's worth the better players we would have to lose to get him considering we may/probably wouldn't re-sign him either?