Huge group of prospects
You may have heard about the massive amount of prospects that were just released due to improprieties done by the Atlanta Braves. First off, before getting too crazy about lambasting the Braves, know that many teams around the league are still being investigated, and while this RIGHT NOW is the only punishment with players being released as part of it, when MLB started their initial investigation, 3/4 of the players released on Tuesday (essentially anyone signed before this season) were not a target of their probe but instead came up later as part of the investigation.
The biggest name known is former top signee Kevin Maitan, who was signed for $4.25M just a summer ago. He was considered the top talent in the international market, and his bonus set a record for a Venezuelan signee. Some reports on him adding weight and struggling last season were true, but he also had a significant hamstring injury that hampered his movement. He has recently been shown working out at the Braves facility and is visibly trimmer.
Beyond Maitan, the top guy in my eyes to pursue would be Yunior Severino, who has an incredible offensive upside as a middle infielder. He has been compared favorably to Robinson Cano at the plate. Livan Soto would probably be the third option as an elite defender at shortstop with a very good feel for the strike zone at the plate and some potential for low double-digit production in home runs and steals.
The Braves signed Asian import Ji-Hwan Bae, a tremendously quick infielder that probably profiled more as a center fielder or left fielder defensively with elite contact and speed skills offensively, this season in the IFA market. His deal was negated in the punishment, and he could be a focus to review as many teams did not know of his availability, or he may have been paid more.
You can view the other players who were removed from the Braves on Baseball America’s coverage of the punishment. Many of the Braves top prospects were profiled in a recent top 100 prospects list from our own Benjamin Chase over at Call To The Pen if you’re looking for more information. You can find their ranking on the list page and then click the page for the in-depth report.
If the Braves guys are not the taste, or don’t use up all the funds, there are still some guys from this year’s class available…