Houston…we have a (another) slugger.
The Braves continued their rebuild on Wednesday and the Astros added more power to their already potent lineup in the form of slugger Evan Gattis.
In exchange for Gattis, the Braves will receive three minor league prospects: right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, third baseman Rio Ruiz, and right-hander Andrew Thurman.
The Braves appear to get the better of the deal as Foltynewicz (#3) and Ruiz (#8) both rank among Houston’s top ten prospects according to Baseball America.
Foltynewicz is coming off a rough season, but has an electric arm and possess the ability to be a major player – be it in Atlanta’s rotation or bullpen – and Ruiz is likely the club’s third baseman of the future thanks to his combination of good glove work and a very lively bat at the hot corner.
Gattis, 28, is no slouch in his own right, having popped 43 home runs over the past two seasons in limited at-bats split between catcher, first base, and the outfield corners with Atlanta.
While he won’t be confused for a Gold Glove defender anywhere on the diamond; Gattis figures to be in the mix for playing time in left field and as a backup catcher in Houston.
The move – while it may initially seem like an overpay for Houston – appears to be a win-win for both clubs given their current trajectories.
The short left field porch in Houston’s Minute Maid Park is tailor-made for Gattis’ swing and he figures to rival the club’s other young sluggers, both in terms of power and propensity for strikeouts, over the duration of his contract.
As for Atlanta, this move further solidifies that the club is rebuilding in hopes of fielding a winning team when they open their new stadium in 2017.
The club has already moved corner outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Heyward this off-season.
The move of Gattis serves to replenish the farm system with two players who could be key cogs in the next great Braves squad.