It took until we were under 24 hours from the July 31st, 4:00 ET trade deadline, but the Braves finally made a move. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Atlanta has traded LHP Kolby Allard to Texas for relief pitcher Chris Martin.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2019
The Braves desperately need bullpen help, and Martin is an intriguing character. He left the MLB for Japan three years ago and was lights out, leading him to sign a two-year deal with the Texas Rangers. 2018 was nothing to write home about. Martin went 1-5 with a 4.54 ERA in 46 appearances, but 2019 has been a revelation for the 6’8″ right-hander.
Most noticeably, Martin has some of the best control in the entire MLB. In 38 innings pitched, he has four walks, translating to 0.9/BB per nine innings. That’s not usual for a pitcher whose average fastball sits at 96 and is posting a 10.2 K/9 rate. This fills at least one of the holes in the bullpen. Martin could even serve as the closer, but the Braves will likely to be adding more pieces before 4:00 ET tomorrow.
As for what Atlanta gave in return; Kolby Allard was a first-round pick (14th overall) in 2015. It’s important to keep in mind three things in regards to this deal. It may seem like a lot for a rental relief pitcher, but Allard was a first-round selection made by John Copolella – not Anthopoulos. While he was reliable in AAA, he was nothing electric, and his ceiling at the major league level was limited. Beyond that, the Braves have a boatload of pitching prospects that would have blocked his way to Atlanta.
Allard was ranked #10 on our SportsTalkATL prospect list. He had a 4.17 ERA in 20 starts for the Stripers this season.
It’s a nice haul for both sides, but the Braves got what they needed this year without giving up a piece of their future.