clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Taking Advantage of the Sellers: Atlanta Braves

Let's look at some players on the Atlanta Braves who could see their fantasy value increase if their team starts the selling process.

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Based on the moves they've been making for the past year and a half, it was clear from day one of this season that the Braves were not really competing for anything this year. They haven't disappointed toward that end, as they currently sit at 12-33, 15 games back in the NL East and the worst record in the National League.

If you enjoy seeing a scorched-earth rebuild along the lines of what the Astros earlier in the decade (which, honestly I have), then you're probably enjoying what the Braves have done so far. With the impending move into their new stadium next year, they've made a number of acquisitions which could help usher in a more competitive team within the first two seasons. The trade of Shelby Miller looked like a very nice trade for the Braves (if you're being generous about the return for the Diamondbacks) at the time it was made, and has since swung fully into an absolute steal for the team. They received a potential future star in Dansby Swanson, who continues to tear up AA and could be in Atlanta by next year. Other trades have netted the team a number of top prospects in both the high and low minors, and their willingness to eat salary to get prospects and draft picks has made their farm one of the best in baseball.

The general thinking with this scorched-earth approach would be that the Braves don't have all that much left to trade away as we approach the deadline, and yet that couldn't be further from the truth. There are still a few players where the value based on their salaries or age doesn't make a lot of sense, such as Nick Markakis (owed $22M AFTER this season), Freddie Freeman (under contract for another 5 seasons after 2016) and Hector Olivera (salary and off-the-field concerns) Let's take a look at some of the potential options to be traded who may lead to increases in the fantasy value of other members of the team.

Erick Aybar (SS)

This one is probably the easiest, if the Braves can just find someone to trade for him at all. Aybar is a free agent after the season, and his likely replacement just reached AAA earlier this month despite being just 19 years old in Ozzie Albies. Albies spent last season at Low-A and hit extremely well, skipped High-A completely to start the year, and destroyed AA for a month before another promotion. Even if you aren't convinced that Albies is a shortstop long-term, their other top shortstop prospect, Dansby Swanson, has been destroying AA himself and could be ready by early next year as well.

The Braves aren't likely to get very much in return for Aybar, but given that this team has taken on dead money previously in order to get a better return, I could very easily see them take on a larger contract to get a better prospect before the deadline. Aybar doesn't factor into their plans, Albies could be ready by then, and he's definitely worth a speculative add as we get closer to August 1st.

Ender Inciarte (OF)

Inciarte was one of the top overall outfielders last season primarily on the strength of his above-average to elite defense, and is still under team control for another three seasons after 2016. The team definitely doesn't need to move him anytime soon, but could net a very good prospect return if they do. His likely replacement, Mallex Smith, has already been playing fairly regularly in left field, so an Inciarte trade could see more playing time for either Jace Peterson or Adonis Garcia in the short-term.

Julio Teheran (SP)

Everyone's favorite speculation lately, Teheran is a) 25 years old, b) very reasonably priced for the next four guaranteed seasons and c) pitching fairly well this year. It isn't entirely clear why the Braves would feel compelled to trade him other than the idea that he could net them a huge prospect package like the Shelby Miller trade. The Braves have any of Aaron Blair, Casey Kelley, John Gant and Tyrell Jenkins who could fill a rotation spot were it vacated by Teheran, but honestly I doubt very much that he gets traded this summer.