Atlanta Braves: Where have all the prospects gone?!
Atlanta Braves released players still unsigned
The Atlanta Braves have let go of a number of players who have yet to find another team, whether that’s due to being released mid-season or injury or a lack of interest…
Leudys Baez, OF – Incredibly talented, Baez flashed those raw skills at times, with power and speed, but never able to keep health and production both. His 2017 line was tremendous when healthy, with a .300/.353/.498 line, but he also played just 56 games and posted a 17/56 BB/K ratio. He ranked as high as #25 in the top 100.
Jacob Belinda, RHP – Familiar last name due to his father, Belinda struggled to have the same success, released after a 4.53 ERA over 47 2/3 innings before being release. He’s currently pitching in Indy ball.
Aaron Blair, RHP – Blair was very highly-touted coming to the Braves from the Diamondbacks, ranking as the #4 prospect in the system after arriving and as high as the #43 overall prospect in baseball on various top 100 lists. Blair never could get things together with the Braves though, after the Diamondbacks completely altered his pitch mix the year before he came to Atlanta. He’s unsigned currently primarily to recovery from injury but will have an uphill battle once he returns.
Reilys Blanco, 3B – A consistent on-base guy in the Dominican Summer League, Blanco couldn’t break his way to the states, in spite of a 38/25 BB/K ratio over his two years with the DSL, hitting .248/.352/.287 with 13 steals over 82 games.
Austin Bush, 1B – A huge (6’6″, 225 pounds) first baseman, Bush had hit for power with Danville in his draft season in 2017, but his long swing struck out way too much for the new regime, and he was let go 42 games into his 2018 season. He’s playing in the independent Frontier League right now.
Carlos Castro, 1B – Castro had built himself from a guy with the build that looked like he should be a power hitter but was more a contact guy to a guy who seemed to do nothing but drive the ball. His walk rate was absolutely putrid, and that likely led to his release, in spite of 27 home runs over 2016/2017. He’s played 7 games with the Frontier League this season.
Anthony Concepcion, 1B/OF – A late signee, Concepcion was an excellent team guy in his time in the system, but full-season ball exposed his lack of true skills, more of an athlete than a true baseball player.
Keith Curcio, 2B/OF – A guy with an upside as a bench guy was always a personal favorite due to his excellent hustle on the field and seeming ability to make a perfect play when needed. After showing excellent contact skills the previous two seasons, Curcio dropped off in 2017, and he’s now playing independent ball.
Troy Conyers, LHP – Conyers had a big season in his draft season fter being picked in the 23rd round out of the University of San Diego, putting up a 1.91 ERA over 42 1/3 innings, striking out 43 hitters and walking just 12. Instead, he was released and hasn’t caught on anywhere.
Justin Ellison, OF – An incredibly athletic outfielder that was one of the key members of the 2016 Rome Braves, Ellison ranked as high as #49 on the top 100, but he never turned his brilliant athleticism into consistent skills on the field.
Jesus Heredia, RHP – Initially signed as an outfielder, Heredia moved to the mound due to his impressive arm strength. He was known for his impressive movement on the pitch, but he struggled to get strikeouts, more kept hitters from getting hits. After a rough season with Danville in 2017, he was let go.
Landon Hughes, RHP – A 7th round pick from Georgia Southern last summer, Hughes posted an excellent draft season line, with a 1.99 ERA over 22 2/3 innings, striking out 28, so when he was let go, it was odd to hear, but he hasn’t caught on anywhere else.
Taylor Hyssong, LHP – An 8th round pick out of UNC-Wilmington, Hyssong had two solid years for Danville, but he never bumped up in the system. He’s caught on with an independent team and struggled more there than he did with the Atlanta Braves advanced rookie league.
Jared James, OF – The most recent release, happening within the last week, James is the son of former Braves outfielder Dion James, and he’s been a solid player since being drafted in the 34th round. While James was not a likely MLB starter, he still was a solid org player, so his release came as a surprise.
Manuel Juan, 1B/OF – I had reports from good contacts that the big (6’4″, 200 pounds) teenager was a solid athlete that could turn into a very good power hitter and a steal for the Atlanta Braves. After a rough first season in the DSL in 2017, Juan was let go.
Bradley Keller, OF – A gifted athlete that the Braves got in the 15th round in 2015, Keller struggled to turn his impressive power and speed skills into on-field production in full-season ball. He’s not caught on anywhere this year.
Alay Lago, 2B – A year after hitting .303 in his first year in the Atlanta Braves system, Lago struggled in AA, and he was promptly let go. He’s hitting very well in independent ball.
Taylor Lewis, RHP – Picked from the University of Florida in 2015 in the 9th round, Lewis had an excellent first two years in the Atlanta Braves system, but he struggled heavily in 2017, and he’s not found work in 2018 after being released.
Eudis Lora, IF – Lora struck a solid impression with his athletic build, but he struggled with making consistent contact over his first two years in the DSL, hitting .201. He has not been signed this year.
Bladimir Matos, RHP – Matos was an “older” signee, coming to the Atlanta Braves system at 21, and he worked as a long man for 3 years, but he simply couldn’t find his niche. After an 11/11 BB/K ratio over 12 2/3 innings in 2018, Matos was let go.
Omar Obregon, IF – In 2015, Obregon and Ozzie Albies were an incredibly impressive middle infield duo for Rome. He struggled to hit to match his glove and was let go this spring. He’s been hitting very well in three independent leagues this year.
David Peterson, RHP – An 8th round pick in 2012, Peterson was hurt in his first full year in the season and moved to the bullpen in 2014 when he returned. That put him behind the 8-ball in development as an older player. In his fourth season spending at least some time at AAA Gwinnett, Peterson posted a 6.08 ERA over 23 2/3 innings this year before being released.
Jackson Pokorney, OF – An incredibly strong outfielder from Indiana, Pokorney was drafted out of high school in the 29th round in 2016. He hit well in the Gulf Coast League, but he was injured and missed all of 2017. After he got back on the field, the Atlanta Braves weren’t happy with what they saw and let him go.
More from Tomahawk Take
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- Atlanta Braves sign free agent outfielder Jordan Luplow
- Atlanta Braves 2023 Preseason Top 30 Prospects List: 16-20
Zach Rice, LHP – After raising questions about how he was used at North Carolina, Rice was left alone by a number of teams in spite of impressive stuff. He had an impressive year with Danville in 2017, but after struggling in his first 3 games of 2018, he was let go.
Jhoniel Sepulveda, RHP – The Atlanta Braves brought up Sepulveda in 2017 to the Gulf Coast League, and he performed well, but after struggling when he was sent down to the DSL in 2018, he was released.
Gilbert Suarez, RHP – Drafted out of high school in California in the 18th round in 2015, Suarez had quality stuff, but could never put it together consistently. After struggling in his first exposure outside of the GCL in 2017, he was let go.
Ramon Taveras, RHP – Signed out of the Dominican, Taveras actually seemed to have a year that showed his value in 2017, with his best strikeout of his career in the GCL, but his hit rate and a lack of impact velocity led the Braves to release Taveras, and he’s not found another team this year.
Whew! That’s a load of names to remember and recall. We certainly hope the best for each of the players now elsewhere. Once part of the Atlanta Braves family, a player always holds a special place in a Braves fan’s heart!