Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves

Diving into the depths: Atlanta Braves

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Tim Hudson
2. Derek Lowe
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Jair Jurrjens
5. Mike Minor
6. Kenshin Kawakami
7. Brandon Beachy
8. Todd Redmond
9. Julio Teheran
10. J.J. Hoover

Kawakami still hasn’t been moved, so Minor could have a fight on his hands for the fifth spot in the rotation. I think that we’ll see Kawakami go once a few other teams lose starters to injury this spring.

Bullpen
1. Jonny Venters
2. Craig Kimbrel
3. Peter Moylan
4. Eric O’Flaherty
5. Scott Linebrink
6. George Sherrill
7. Kenshin Kawakami
8. Brandon Beachy
9. Cristhian Martinez
10. Scott Proctor
11. Stephen Marek
12. Anthony Varvaro
13. Jairo Asencio
14. Cory Gearrin
15. Jay Sborz
16. Juan Abreu
17. Erik Cordier

I like this pen, maybe more than I should. Moylan is dynamite against righties, O’Flaherty is much more than a specialist and Linebrink should benefit greatly from getting out of U.S. Cellular. My guess is that Venters starts off as the closer and that Kimbrel overtakes him at some point during the summer. Kimbrel should be the long-term choice, but he does have the Carlos Marmol-like command issues.

Catcher
1. Brian McCann
2. David Ross
3. J.P. Boscan
4. Wilkin Castillo

First base
1. Freddie Freeman
2. Eric Hinske
3. Martin Prado

Second base
1. Dan Uggla
2. Martin Prado
3. Brooks Conrad
4. Diory Hernandez

Third base
1. Chipper Jones
2. Martin Prado
3. Brooks Conrad

Shortstop
1. Alex Gonzalez
2. Diory Hernandez
3. Brandon Hicks

If Chipper can’t overcome the torn ACL in time for Opening Day, then Prado will play third base. Otherwise, Prado will serve as the regular left fielder after making room for Uggla at second base.

Left field
1. Martin Prado
2. Eric Hinske
3. Joe Mather
4. Brent Clevlen
5. Wilkin Ramirez

Center field
1. Nate McLouth
2. Matt Young
3. Jordan Schafer
4. Jose Constanza

Right field
1. Jason Heyward
2. Joe Mather
3. Eric Hinske
4. Brent Clevlen
5. Wilkin Ramirez

Randy Winn to the Braves makes all kinds of sense. Jim Edmonds would be better, but he is another lefty and he might prefer to retire anyway. The Braves need a legitimate backup center fielder, and there isn’t really anyone else out there in free agency. Maybe they could get Darnell McDonald from the Red Sox if Boston prefers an infielder as its 25th man. They might just wait to see who turns up on the waiver wire at the end of the spring.

The Nationals acquire Marc Rzepczynski from the Athletics

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 25:  Marc Rzepczynski #35 of the Oakland Athletics throws against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.

Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.

On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.

 

Video: Minor leaguer dives over the wall to rob a home run

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Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.

Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: