After heating the stove to a low simmer over the weekend with their signings of veteran pitchers R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, it appears that Atlanta’s focus has now shifted to Chris Sale
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Braves are among a number of teams showing “strong interest” in acquiring the Cy-Young caliber lefty from the South side of Chicago. This would certainly signal some change of direction from the Braves’ FO, who have been firmly committed to rebuilding a dominant franchise that hasn’t played in the postseason since 2013.
Rumors have also surfaced today that the Braves are looking at Oakland’s Sonny Gray, and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer as possible top-of-the-rotation options
Among other Braves news today, Atlanta has signed 26-year old Cuban pitcher Elian Leyva to a minor league deal. The right handed journeyman has spent the past two seasons playing in Spain, where he posted an ERA of 0.70 in 66 innings pitched for CB Barcelona. More striking than the ERA figure, however, is the ridiculous 82/17 K/BB ratio. Whether he’s a talented pitcher who’s just flown under all the radars remains to be seen, but the Braves FO certainly saw something exciting there.
Finally, Fox Sports posted their list of the Braves’ top 10 prospects for 2017 today and anyone familiar with the top-5 farm system in Atlanta shouldn’t be surprised by most of the names on the list, until you reach 18-year old Ian Anderson at #8. Anderson was drafted by the Braves with the 3rd overall pick in last year’s draft and although he didn’t actually see a minor league mound until May, he was incredibly impressive when he finally got there. In 39 & 2/3rds innings in the Rookie league, he posted a 2.04 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.64 BB%, and a 22.93 K%. As if the farm in Atlanta didn’t have enough pitching already, it looks like the Braves have added yet another young stud to the list. Anderson will likely start next season at Single A Rome as an 18 year old.