Alex Anthopoulos has proven to be one of the best general managers in all of sports, not just baseball. It seems like everything he touches turns to gold.
The blockbuster trades and team-friendly signings of superstar players get all the national headlines. However, it is the lesser-known moves on the transaction wire that barely get noticed by Braves fans at the time, let alone the national media, that really put this team over the top year after year.
Most recently, Anthopoulos acquired Ben Heller from the Rays in a deal that garnered little attention.
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) June 6, 2023
Heller hadn’t pitched in a major-league game since 2020 with the Yankees, but he looks like an entirely different pitcher, featuring a 96 MPH sinker. That’s a full 3 MPH better than where he was the last time he was in the majors, and the results have been incredible.
In Heller’s first three innings for the Braves, he allowed just three baserunners and no runs to go along with eight strikeouts. The 31-year-old has been nearly untouchable, leading to a -0.05 FIP. We will have to see if it’s sustainable, but he certainly looks the part of a pitcher that can be apart of a major-league bullpen, and the Braves could use another relief arm, especially with Jesse Chavez and Dylan Lee currently on the IL.
Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire