In case you missed it last week, a lot of the baseball world was caught off guard by the inaugural draft that took place for a new baseball league. That league is known as Baseball United, and it features a ton of former MLB players, including more than a few of our own Atlanta Braves.
The Baseball United league is the first-ever professional baseball league in the Middle East and South Asia. The league features a slew of former big leaguers on the roster, as well as some notable greats in other roles. Adrian Beltre, Mariano Rivera, Miguel Tejada, and Barry Larkin have found themselves in either GM or managerial roles.
On October 23rd, this new league held a ten round draft for the four teams featured in the league: the Karachi Monarchs, Mumbai Cobras, Dubai Wolves and Abu Dhabi Falcons. Each team got two selections in each round to make up a 20-man roster. Five former Braves were selected and we will give you the details on each.
Kung Fu Panda is one of the more notable names in this league, and was the highest drafted former Brave. Pablo was chosen with the fourth overall selection and was the first pick of the Abu Dhabi Falcons.
Sandoval won three World Series' with the Giants, including a WS MVP, but his time with the Braves was short. Although, he had a few clutch pinch-hits early on in 2021 for Atlanta, he is probably best known in Braves country as the man who was traded for that season's NLCS MVP, sir Eddie Rosario.
Robbie Cano had one of the sweeter left-handed swings in MLB for the better part of a decade. He was truly a professional hitter in every sense of the word. The eight time All-Star played his final nine major league games with the Braves in 2022.
It was among the fewest games played for Atlanta in this list of six players, although there is one man who appeared in fewer. Now Cano will be suiting up for the Dubai Woves.
The defensive wizard himself has found a new squad in the Mumbai Cobras. Simmons' debuted as a Brave in 2012 and won multiple gold gloves with Atlanta in his four years. Andrelton played in nearly 500 games for Atlanta (499 to be exact) and across those games he slashed .256/.304/.362.
However, it was the magic Simmons' constantly provided with his glove and arm that won the hearts of Braves country. In his four years in Atlanta he posted a 10.1 fWAR, including a 23.4 defensive fWAR via Fangraphs in his final year.
The longest tenured Brave on this list hasn't thrown a major league pitch since 2014. Jurrjens was with the Braves from 2008-2012 and posted a sub-3.00 ERA in two of those campaigns. Across five seasons JJ had a 50-36 record, 3.58 ERA and 3.94 FIP.
He is a pitcher that is often forgotten, but interestingly enough he seems to be a headline figure in this new league. Just recently, Jurrjens was announced as the game one starter for the West All-Stars. In fact if you go to Baseball United's homepage you will Jurrjens in his Dubai Wolves jersey pictured alongside with our next former Brave.
Yes, at the ripe young age of 50 years-old "Big Sexy" Bartolo Colon will be pitching for the Karachi Monarchs in 2023. Bartolo made his MLB debut all the way back in 1997. Two decades later he wore a Braves jersey for the first time in his career.
Although 2017 wasn't as successful as Colon would've liked that Braves team was still pretty bad so he didn't really garner any bad blood with Braves fans because of his performance. I'm not sure how the former Cy Young will look pitching at his age now, but count me as one of the many interested to find out.
Our last former Brave may have slipped by your attention if you were to look at the full ten round draft recap. But yes, former MLB reliever Akeel Morris appeared in eight games with Atlanta in 2017. Morris was known for having a swing-and-miss changeup, but partnered with the trouble of controlling it.
At 30 years-old Morris still has plenty left to prove, and his 4th round (31st overall) selection could motivate him to work his way back to the big leagues.
You can catch all of these former Braves in action for the new Baseball United league very soon. Their first public event will take place Nov. 24 and 25 in Dubai. It is a showcase where fans can check out a two-game series featuring the league's best players in a East vs. West format.