5 Prospects the Atlanta Braves Should Consider Dealing at the Deadline
Despite their lead, the Braves have some obvious holes to fill as evidenced by the Boston Red Sox recently sweeping the Braves in a four-game set.
The combination of those weaknesses and the Braves' position in the standings makes them a strong candidate to be buyers at the July 31 trade deadline.
Will the Braves be content making serviceable additions such as a left-handed reliever or bench help?
Or does general manager Frank Wren make more of a splash with a starting second baseman or top-end starting pitcher?
Time will tell, but until then here's a look at some prospects that the Braves should consider trading at the deadline.
5. Juan Jaime
Juan Jaime had an opportunity to impress manager Fredi Gonzalez this spring training, but he didn't make the most it.
The 26-year-old finished with a 5.06 ERA and struggled with his command, issuing seven walks in 5.1 innings.
Despite the walk issues, there's no denying he has arm talent.
Jaime's fastball reaches the mid to upper 90s, which gives him the potential to be a successful relief pitcher.
Jaime has pitched well for triple-A Gwinnett this season, posting a 3.10 ERA in 21 games.
The Braves have had some bullpen issues in 2014, but haven't turned to Jaime and recently called up Shae Simmons from double-A Mississippi.
Jaime has potential to be an intriguing reliever prospect and may just need to change organizations.
4. Aaron Northcraft
Aaron Northcraft is a talented arm and rated the No. 14 prospect in the Braves' organization, according to MLB.com.
The 24-year-old and former 10th-round draft choice has steadily climbed up the organization thanks to a 3.61 career minor league ERA.
The problem for Northcraft is there is no room in the starting rotation in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.
The Braves already have young starters in Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Alex Wood at the MLB level with Lucas Sims, Jason Hursh and J.R. Graham rated higher in the minors.
This combination could make Northcraft a viable trade option for the Braves, and a player that other teams would covet.
3. Edward Salcedo
Rated the No. 13 prospect in the Braves organization, according to MLB.com, it's hard to determine exactly what Edward Salcedo's trade value is at this point.
The Braves signed Salcedo out of the Dominican Republic due to his excellent raw skills and tremendous upside.
Unfortunately for the Braves and Salcedo, he has failed to come close to that potential.
Salcedo is a career .236 hitter in the minors and is hitting just .202 with a .280 OBP at triple-A Gwinnett this season.
It looks like Kyle Kubitza has passed Salcedo as the likely third baseman of the future in Atlanta.
Therefore, the Braves could send Salcedo to a team that puts greater value in his raw skills.
2. Cody Martin
The No. 9-rated prospect in the Braves' organization faces the same problem as Aaron Northcraft.
Cody Martin has steadily climbed the system and is putting together another good season for triple-A Gwinnett.
In 2014, Martin has posted a 3.36 ERA and struck out 56 batters in 59 innings.
He does not have overwhelming stuff, but uses a 90 mph fastball along with a curveball and changeup, which allows him to be an effective pitcher.
With the Braves having so many young pitchers in the organization they should look to trade Martin in the right deal.
1. Christian Bethancourt
It's very unlikely the Braves will trade the second-rated prospect in the organization and supposed catcher of the future.
However, if the Braves look to add a top-end starter and a team wants Christian Bethancourt, I think they should consider it.
It's the same story for Bethancourt.
He possesses MLB-ready defensive skills but has yet to develop as a hitter.
After making strides in 2013, he has struggled to improve this season with a .240 average and underwhelming .275 OBP.
The Braves can be patient with Bethancourt as he's just 22 years old, and they have control over Evan Gattis for the next few seasons.
However, I don't consider Bethancourt an untouchable prospect and should be considered if the right deal presents itself.
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