As I was watching the game yesterday against the Cardinals, I noticed an interesting name that nearly hit the ball out of Truist Park in the fourth inning and then did manage to get one out in the sixth, Juan Yepez. Yepez initially signed with the Braves organization in 2014 as a 16-year-old, but three years later, he was traded to the Cardinals in the deal that brought Matt Adams to Atlanta.
Five years ago was a much different time in Braves Country. Adams took over first base for the injured Freddie Freeman, who broke his wrist. Atlanta was aiming to finally take the next step out of a rebuild, but it turned out to be a year too early. In 2018, they won the first of four straight division titles. They ended 2017, though, with just 72 wins, finishing in third place.
However, Adams had a lot of success in his 100 games with the team. He mashed 19 bombs and played so well that the Braves even moved Freddie Freeman to third base in order to keep them both in the lineup. As I said, it was a peculiar time in Braves Country.
Adams went on to sign with the Nationals the following season, and five years later, Juan Yepez made his debut for the Cardinals, where he’s become a critical piece to the team. In 53 games as a rookie, he’s hitting .281 with 11 homers and ten doubles — good for a .844 OPS and 139 OPS+.
At the end of the day, the Braves turned out just fine, but this is still a deal they would like to have back. It was a classic case of a team attempting to be competitive just slightly too soon, and because of that, they lost out on a talented prospect. Coincidentally, yesterday was also the debut of Freddie Freeman playing third base.
I was also just reminded this is the fifth anniversary of Freddie Freeman's debut as a third baseman
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 5, 2022
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire