Ranking the Braves biggest trade pieces

ECJ230402017 ATL WAS

The Braves don’t have a lot of prospect capital to make a blockbuster trade prior to this year’s trade deadline, so I wouldn’t expect one. It’s not like the team needs to do anything drastic to improve their roster, but Alex Anthopoulos is generally a busy man at the trade deadline. And as I wrote yesterday, the Braves could use an upgrade in left field and some help in the bullpen.

Thankfully, neither of those things should cost a ton of prospect capital or financial assets, and the Braves do have a few pieces that could entice other teams. Here are my top five trade assets a couple of months away from the trade deadline.

5. Spencer Schwellenbach

There are a few guys that could be put in the spot. JR Ritchie was taken 35th overall, but after undergoing Tommy John surgery, it’s difficult to imagine him being traded. Some teams may be more interested in a guy closer to the majors, like Braden Shewmake. But when I look at prospects, I’m looking for upside. Most of these guys are going to bust out anyways, so why not acquire the guys that could be the best if they reach their full potential? Spencer Schwellenbach was a 2021 second-round pick that had to undergo Tommy John surgery, but he’s back and dominating with the August Green Jackets. His high-90s fastball with a couple of plus secondary pitches make him an interesting prospect that could be used in a trade.

4. Owen Murphy

The Braves took Owen Murphy in the first-round last season, and I doubt they would be eager to trade him because they really need to start rebuilding the lower levels of the minors. In that same breath, the Braves are in win-now mode and Murphy isn’t likely to make his debut for 3-4 years. If he’s the piece needed to get a deal done that can help the team win a championship, it’s a no-brainer.

3. Jared Shuster

The Braves trading Shuster is something I could see happening, especially if some of their other rotation pieces get healthy and perform better. Right now, they need him, but that could change over the next couple of months. His ceiling isn’t that high, but hopefully, he can keep performing better and prove he can be part of a major-league rotation.

2. Vaughn Grissom

It’s unfortunate for the Braves that Grissom was forced into action at the major-league level and showed he is nowhere close to being an everyday shortstop. Because if teams just saw last season and then watched him play in Gwinnett this year, his value would be pretty damn high. His performance in Atlanta certainly didn’t do the Braves any favors, but he is still worth something and could be used in a trade for a high-leverage bullpen piece or a quality starting left fielder.

1. AJ Smith-Shawver

Listen, this isn’t going to happen, and I debated not even including him on this list. Smith-Shawver is a guy they think so highly of that they’ve already promoted him to the majors after just 110 minor league innings. He has superstar potential, and I couldn’t even imagine a trade off the top of my head that would make sense. But in the event the Braves got desperate and needed to make a blockbuster trade, he would have to be the centerpiece of any deal, and he would be a damn good one.

Photographer: Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire

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