SEE ALSO: Midseason Top 10 Prospects
|Braves Midseason Top 10|
|1. Ronald Acuna, OF|
|2. Kolby Allard, LHP|
|3. Ozzie Albies, 2B/SS|
|4. Mike Soroka, RHP|
|5. Kyle Wright, RHP|
|6. Sean Newcomb, LHP|
|7. Ian Anderson, RHP|
|8. Kevin Maitan, SS|
|9. Luiz Gohara, LHP|
|10. Bryse Wilson, RHP|
All along, 2017 was assured to be a mulligan for the Braves. It's a freebie.
With a new ballpark opening to ensure that fans would stream to the northern suburbs of Atlanta no matter what, the rebuilding Braves' realistic goal for 2017 was progress, not playoffs.
In many ways, they've met that goal. Atlanta is in second place in the NL East. They trail the Nationals by an insurmountable distance and are on the very periphery of the wild-card race. But by playing right around .500 ball, they have shown their rebuild is taking steps toward completion.
The Braves still have arguably the best farm system in baseball with a slew of prospects scattered all the way from Triple-A to the lowest levels. They've graduated Mike Foltynewicz and almost Sean Newcomb as solid members of the starting rotation. Shortstop Dansby Swanson's big league acclimation has not gone as smoothly.
As the trade deadline nears, the Braves are logically sellers, but only in a modest way. It makes sense to see if there is any demand for second baseman Brandon Phillips (a pending free agent) with Ozzie Albies about ready step in to replace him. Similarly, starting pitchers R.A. Dickey and Jaime Garcia could land modest returns as innings-eating starters. Even recent pickup first baseman Matt Adams might make sense in a deal now that Freddie Freeman has returned from injury.
But none of those players the Braves have to deal. It also doesn't mean the Braves won't be willing to take on salary for veterans in other deals, much like they did with Matt Kemp last year.
Ideally, Atlanta is going to put together a nearly entirely homegrown starting rotation in the coming years as Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, Luiz Gohara and others compete to join Julio Teheran, Foltyniewicz and Newcomb. The lineup will need work, but Ronald Acuna, the team's top prospect, and Albies aren't far away.