John Hart kept on stockpiling pitching prospects. On January 8th, it was announced that the Braves had traded 3B Kyle Kubitzka along with RHP Nate Hyatt to the Angels for LHP Ricardo Sanchez. In Sanchez, the Braves acquire a 17 year-old prospect from Venezuela that has frontline starter potential. Sanchez was ranked as high as the 2nd best prospect in a weak Angels Farm System this past season. He spent last season in rookie ball, where he pitched to a 3.49 ERA in 9 starts and 12 total appearances. His only knock has been his control, as he averaged a little over 5 walks per nine innings. Sanchez was signed out of Venezuela at 16 by Lebi Ochoa, who now serves as the Braves’ senior advisor to player development. He is nowhere near Major League ready, but Sanchez has untapped potential and I’m excited to see what he can do in his first full season in the Braves Organization. Scouts are impressed by his 90’s fastball and his curveball. I have Sanchez ranked as my #18 prospect in the Farm System. In Kubitzka, the Braves lose a player who was closer to Major League ready but who has a much lower ceiling. Kubitzka had a great year at Mississippi, hitting .295 with 8 homers and 55 RBIs. However, with additions of prospects Jace Peterson, Rio Ruiz and Dustin Peterson, the Braves have a handful of third base prospects. I think Kubitzka can contribute at the Major League level for the Halos but don’t see him faring much better than a player like Phil Gosselin. Nate Hyatt appears to merely be a throw in, but he could end up cracking a Major League bullpen at some point. By no means is he considered a prospect, but he has had some impressive number so far in his career. I think overall this trade was all about upside, and the Braves acquisition of Sanchez could be a steal down the road. I like this move by John Hart as he is trying to transition this organization back to its roots of building around young pitching.
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