Matt Olson hasn’t been bad by any means, but it’s fair to say he has underachieved in his first season as a Brave. Whether you like it or not, his performance will always be compared to Freddie Freeman throughout the length of his contract. However, it’s a perfect time to take a look at how those young prospects performed in their first opportunity outside of the Brave organization.
Once a borderline top 10 prospect in all of baseball, Pache continues to struggle mightily in 2022. The Athletics gave him a boatload of opportunities to contribute at the major-league level, but his offensive woes are now a grave concern. Pache hit just .157 in 81 games for Oakland, which led to him spending some time in AAA, where he wasn’t much better with the stick.
As much as I like Pache and am rooting for him, it doesn’t matter how fantastic he is defensively; he will not survive in the majors if he doesn’t take several steps forward offensively. It’s beginning to look like his ceiling may be as a defensive replacement off the bench, which is not what the Athletics were hoping for when they made the trade.
Langeliers was unquestionably the prized jewel of this trade for Oakland. He’s an elite defensive catcher behind the plate with a ton of pop, and he showed that in AAA all season, blasting 19 homers with an .876 OPS. As a result, he was promoted to the Athletics a couple of months ago. It hasn’t gone quite the way everyone hoped in his first 27 games. He’s hitting just .205 at the plate with three homers, but I would still call this season a resounding success for Langeliers.
Cusick was the Braves’ 2021 first-round draft pick, and I was a bit surprised the Braves shipped him off so quickly. He’s had a rough go of it so far with the Athletics organization. Cusick began the season in AA and was taking his lumps to the tune of an 8.13 ERA and 2.28 WHIP. Then, an oblique injury struck, causing him to miss a couple of months. Cusick returned in mid-August and looked much better than he did at the beginning of the year, but overall, this has still been a season to forget for the hard-throwing right-hander.
Estes was the final piece to this trade. He had a terrific season in 2021 with the Augusta Green Jackets (A-ball), and he began this year in High-A. It’s been an adjustment; Estes has allowed more baserunners and runs while striking out fewer batters, but that’s to be expected as players rise through the ranks. He’s only 20 years old, so there’s still plenty of time for him to develop into a major-league caliber pitcher.
It’s still far too early to grade this trade from both sides. Matt Olson hasn’t lived up to his billing of an MVP-caliber first baseman, but the prospects the Braves sent to Oakland have also struggled for the most part. I’m hopeful that a guy like Pache can turn it around, but I think Langeliers is the only prospect the Braves may end up regret trading when it’s all said and done.
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