The Atlanta Braves are in line to make a few more moves here soon considering the baseball season could end as soon as tonight. They have already brought back reliever Pierce Johnson on a two-year deal. Today they sent a pair of players down to Gwinnett, as well as losing a key piece of the team's outfield back in April.
Atlanta just announced they have sent right-handed reliever Ben Heller, and infielder Andrew Velazquez to Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves also confirmed that outfielder Sam Hilliard was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.
If you forgot Velazquez was even on the Braves roster don't feel bad. In fact, once Atlanta claimed Velazquez from the Angels, not once did Velazquez play in a game for Atlanta down the stretch. As for Ben Heller, he had more than a few runs down in Atlanta and Gwinnett steady revolving bullpen shuttle. Heller pitched 18.2 innings for Atlanta to the tune of a 3.86 ERA, 5.02 FIP, paired with 16 strikeouts across those innings.
The biggest news to come from this is the loss of Sam Hilliard, who was in an everyday outfield role in April when Michael Harris II was battling his early season injuries. Once the outfield was completely healthy, Hilliard saw time very sparingly. He finished the 2023 season with a .236/.295/.431 slash line as well as collecting four stolen bases.
Because of Hilliard's plus speed, plus power, and ability to play all three outfield spots, it's no surprise he didn't make it through waivers. Hilliard's tools made him a nice organizational piece, but given how regularly Snit roles with his starting lineup this shouldn't be viewed as more than a loss in depth. Something that Alex Anthopoulos will quickly build back upon once he makes some more important decisions in the near future.