There are a lot of questions leading up to the trade deadline, but unless the Braves implode on this road trip, I think GM Alex Anthopoulos will get aggressive and look to build on a competitive roster. The Braves have already added Joc Pederson, and he has paid dividends so far for the Braves offense. Atlanta could use help in a lot of places — the outfield, the bench, the bullpen, and possibly the rotation if the right trade comes along. But in a season that already feels a bit lost, there should also be some prospects off the table in trade talks.
Most fans would probably say Drew Waters or Cristian Pache, but I think they’re slowly becoming more viable trade chips. Obviously, the Braves have plenty of arms to deal, so they may be comfortable trading a prospect that is major-league ready with guys like Spencer Strider developing nicely in the lower levels. I think for the right player, everyone is available. Still, there are two guys that I’m not willing to part with in any trade for a rental or a player who doesn’t move the needle very much — outfielder Michael Harris and catcher Shea Langeliers.
Harris has been a gem for the Braves since being selected in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Stockbridge, Georgia. As a teenager, he burst onto the scene with a .917 OPS in Rookie Ball, smacking six doubles, three triples, and two home runs over 31 games while also stealing five bases. He’s a true five-tool prospect that has proven he can be the best player on the diamond at any time.
So far in 2021, the 20-year-old Harris has been just as consistent. He’s not getting on base at as high of a clip, but he’s still hitting .286 and displaying incredible gap-to-gap power and speed on the basepaths. The stat sheet doesn’t tell Harris’ whole story; he looks the part of a future bonafide superstar, and with the futures of Marcell Ozuna, Cristian Pache, and Drew Waters up in the air, hanging onto Harris should be a priority unless a superstar is coming back in return.
Braves fans everywhere were disgruntled when Alex Anthopoulos failed to sign Carter Stewart in his first MLB Draft, but missing out on Stewart turned out to be a blessing. With the compensation pick received for Stewart, the Braves selected powerful catcher Shea Langeliers out of Baylor. Langeliers has been incredible as a defensive catcher; his pop time of 1.90 in 2019 trailed only JT Realmuto in terms of Major League catchers (via Talking Chop). Now, Langeliers is hitting for power as he did in college. He is one home run shy of the Southern League lead, and he has an .821 OPS to go along with it. With the need the Braves have at catcher, I think moving him is out of the question. While I do think William Contreras will bounce back, I see those two as Atlanta’s tandem of the future.