The Braves have spent most of the John Hart-John Copollela era amassing starting pitching, taking on some lottery tickets with big arms, red flags and injury history. On Thursday as most participants at the Winter Meetings headed home, Atlanta swung a similar deal, but this time for a reliever.
The Braves sent righthander Tyrell Jenkins--acquired from the Cardinals in 2014 along with Shelby Miller for Jason Heyward--and lefthander Brady Feigl to the Rangers for righthander Luke Jackson, a 2010 supplemental first-rounder who has trouble with command but a very big fastball.
Brady Feigl, lhp
Feigl was not drafted after spending four years at Mount St. Mary’s, in part because of shoulder surgery in his junior year. He was working as a high school coach in Maryland and giving pitching lessons before the Braves spotted him at a scout day in 2013 and signed him. A promising 2014 got him an invite to big league camp in 2015 and he nearly made the roster, but ended up needing Tommy John surgery. He pitched just six innings this season in his return to the mound. At his best, Feigel has a solid-average three-pitch mix with a low-90s fastball, but his ceiling is as a lefty reliever who can try to survive against righthanded hitters as well as lefties.
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|Tyrell Jenkins, rhp
Jenkins is a tremendous athlete who committed to play quarterback at Baylor before committing to baseball full time, but he had injury issues in his time with the Cardinals, including shoulder surgery in August 2013. He was healthier in his time in Atlanta. After a breakthrough 2015, Jenkins’ command took a step back in 2016, especially in his time in the majors, when he walked 5.7 batters per nine innings and had trouble missing bats. In the majors, Jenkins primarily threw his low 90s fastball, mixing in a curveball and changeup. He could possibly be a back-end starter if not low-leverage reliever, unless he can improve his command.
Luke Jackson, rhp
Jackson has long tantalized with his stuff, but the results have yet to match. He can hum his fastball up to 100 mph, sitting 94-98 in relief. But Jackson doesn’t really have the ability to locate either his fastball or his breaking ball. He tends to leave his fastball up in the zone and he was battered in a short stint in Texas. He’s largely a fastball-curveball pitcher. His curveball does flash some bite but batters can pick it up fairly easily. He threw his changeup just five percent of the time in his short MLB stay. If Jackson can improve his fastball command, he could compete for a role in the Braves bullpen.
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