Ranking The Ex-Braves Who Have Been Granted Free Agency
SEE ALSO: MLB Removing Prospects From Braves
The penalties Major League Baseball levied on the Braves are unprecedented in scope, as for the first time ever, they declared the majority of an international signing class to be free agents.
Teams will be taking a look at updating their scouting reports on everyone of the newly minted free agents over the next few weeks, but many of them have already impressed scouts in pro ball. Here’s a ranking of the top eight prospects among the players that the commissioner’s office has made free agents.
1. Kevin Maitan, SS Yes, scouts are much less enamored by his thickening body and his lefthanded swing than they were when he was an amateur, but he’s also a 17-year-old shortstop who didn’t look completely overwhelmed in the Appalachian League. He has to be more diligent about keeping his lower half in shape, but the talent is still there. , and any team would be happy to take chance on seeing what he develops into as he matures.
2. Yunior Severino, 2B Severino signed for $1.9 million in 2016 as one of the top players in the Braves’ loaded international class. He is an offense-first switch-hitting middle infielder with power potential and loads of bat speed. As you would expect for a teenager, he has plenty of work ahead of him, especially defensively, but 17-year-olds who slug .444 in the Gulf Coast League are exceedingly hard to find.
3. Livan Soto, SS Soto carries plenty of projection as he’s a wiry, quick twitch shortstop with a plus arm. Multiple scouts who saw him this year said they believe he’s a true shortstop who could be a plus defender and his bat was more advanced than expected.
4. Yefri Del Rosario, RHP A $1 million signing in 2016, Del Rosario’s stuff has taken a step forward since he signed. He’s now pitching with a plus 91-94 mph fastball that touches 97 and the added arm speed has also helped tighten up his sharp breaking ball. His delivery isn’t particularly clean, but he throws strikes and his cross-fire delivery adds deception.
5. Ji-Hwan Bae, SS Bae was one the better international prospects to play in the 18U World Cup this summer–he hit .286/.393/.412 at the tournament–and he signed with the Braves soon after. Scouts who saw Bae projected him as a well-rounded, athletic middle infielder with a chance to stay at shortstop. His plus speed is an asset, although there are more questions about his power potential.
6. Abrahan Gutierrez, C Gutierrez like many young catchers has to work on his game calling, on handling all the different situations a catcher deals with during a game and the wear and tear of a long season behind the plate. But he has excellent strength for his age that leads evaluators to believe he can handle 100+ games at catcher and he’s advanced for his age in his receiving and blocking. At the plate, he has power potential thanks to his strong frame but there are questions about how much he’ll hit.
7. Juan Contreras, RHP Contreras is all about arm strength. He can light up radar guns from 92-97 mph already and he’s got a little room to add more velocity. But right now he has no idea of where the ball is going when it leaves his hand (10 walks per nine in the GCL this year) and his secondary pitches are more ideas than refined offerings at this point.
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8. Yenci Pena, SS Pena was one of the higher-priced additions in the Braves’ 2016 class, but he’s proven to be a little less advanced than some of fellow teenagers. Sent to the Dominican Summer League in his pro debut, Pena hit .230/.328/.327. Pena has a good frame, a workable swing and a chance to stay at shortstop.