Brandon Jones: Power Or Preview

Brett KettyleCorrespondent IJune 17, 2008

Recently, the Atlanta Braves sent Josh Anderson back to the minors and called up Brandon Jones, who was listed as the teams fourth best prospect this year by baseball America. While Jones may have a brighter future than Anderson, there was seemingly no reason for him to be in Atlanta over Anderson.

While playing CF in place of Mark Kotsay, Anderson hit .375 and stole two bases in 11 games. He can play all three outfield positions (Jones is a Corner Outfielder) and has terrific speed and has played well at AAA Richmond and in spring training earlier this year.

However, the Braves decided to send him back to the minors and call up Jones to play in place of the injured Matt Diaz, moving Gregor Blanco to center.

First rumors were that the club wanted Jones in the lineup because he brought more power than Anderson, something the team was lacking when Chipper Jones was hurting and Jeff Francoeur marred in an awful slump.

However, Anderson had provided the Braves with their most legitimate base-stealing threat since Rafeal Furcal, and had been a spark at the top of the lineup.

More recent speculation is that the Braves are simply letting Jones play because they can show him off to potential trade partners.

I believe that this is what they are doing. Three of the Braves top four prospects are OF—Jordan Schaffer, Jason Heyward, and Jones—and the team also has Anderson and Joe Borchard in AAA Richmond.

The team could use upgrades in other areas (especially the pitching staff) and could opt to trade away one of their OF prospects to get somebody.

If this is the direction that the team plans on going, Jones is the obvious choice to be traded. He holds more value that Schaffer (who just returned from a suspension for HGH) and will be able to play sooner than Heyward (who is only in A ball right now).

Jones boasts 20//20 potential but is expendable, especially when Kotsay and Diaz come back (because Blanco then goes back on the bench as well). Jones has come up on fire (hitting over .500 in his first five games) and likely will be out of Atlanta by the end of the season if the Braves think they have a shot at making the playoffs.

Although the Braves likely won't be going after a big time player like CC Sabathia, players like Bronson Arroyo, Paul Byrd, Randy Wolf or even Greg Maddux could be acquired and greatly bolster the teams depleted starting rotation.