If there’s any organization in the world that would want to fast forward the next couple months up until April, it’s the Atlanta Braves. Today is December 15th, 2017 and most Braves’ fans, staff, and the front office want to forget the offseason thus far. Let’s see so far in the offseason they have traded Jim Johnson and his contract to the Angels for a pitching prospect, traded Matt Kemp and his contract to the Dodgers, Ender Inciarte won a Gold Glove, their Triple-A team rebranded to the “Gwinnett Stripers”, they released Adrian Gonzalez promptly after acquiring him; oh and also John Hart resigned from his position, their international scouting director was suspended for a year, General Manager John Coppolella received a lifetime ban from baseball, they lost their 2018 third round pick in the draft as well as 13 international signees, and lost most, if not all, of their freedom to sign international free agents till 2020. With their new found spending limits, Alex Anthopoulous will have to be creative in continuing the rebuild that the past administration began through the mess they left behind.
HOWEVER, with all that has happened thus far with the off the field side of the team, it is easy to forget the on the field side of the team. Despite losing the 13 international signees and their 2018 third round pick, new General Manager Alex Anthopoulos still has one of the strongest farm systems in baseball under his control. In 2017, the Braves team was either filled with transition players/position fillers till the prospects are MLB ready or the first group of the who they hope to be the next generation of a winning Atlanta Braves. This past season, they “improved” in a sense from finishing 3rd worst in the MLB in 2016 to finishing 8th worst. Ender Inciarte was a Gold Glover and an Allstar. Tyler Flowers had a great year offensively in comparison to the Tyler Flowers of old. Freddie Freeman was arguably on his way to the NL MVP before he got hurt for a month. Swanson struggled but, youngsters like Johan Camargo, Sean Newcomb, and Ozzie Albies came up and impressed. The next generation Atlanta Braves began to come up in 2016 with Dansby Swanson, continued this past year, and will continue for the next couple years with guys like Kyle Wright, Ronald Acuna, and Luiz Gohara.
See Major League Baseball’s punishment for the Atlanta Braves didn’t deplete their organization entirely. Alex Anthopoulos has his hands tied in many areas during this rebuild, however with how the farm system is looking right now there will be a winning ball club in SunTrust Park with time.