Once again, I’m checking in on how the Braves trade deadline acquisitions have performed. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that all five of these guys have been key contributors since joining the club, almost as if Alex Anthopoulos sprinkled them with some magic juju before making each trade. So instead of simply going over their individual stats since joining the Braves, I thought it would be more fun to rank their respective impact. Like last time, there will also be a second part to this series where I go over how the players the Braves traded away have performed.
Given the Braves’ bullpen woes, combined with how much success Rodriguez had with the Pirates and his availability, Braves fans were clamoring for him before the trade deadline, and they got their wish right before the buzzer sounded. However, there were some concerns regarding Rodriguez, primarily that he’s essentially a one-pitch pitcher, and those concerns have come to fruition over his last two outings.
Rodriguez peppers the zone with a mid-90s fastball; as a result, he rarely walks batters. However, it also leaves him susceptible to hard-hit balls, and he doesn’t have much strikeout stuff. People who thought he was a closer before he arrived to Atlanta will be disappointed, but so far, he’s still been good at limiting runs in middle relief, recording a 1.93 ERA over 18.2 innings. Given how porous the Braves bullpen has been, fans should be pleased, but he still lands last on this list because of how good everyone else has been.
4. Joc Pederson
Of all the bats Alex Anthopoulos has acquired, Joc Pederson has been the least productive, recording just a .723 OPS. However, the Braves wouldn’t be in this position without him. Pederson was acquired quickly after Ronald Acuña’s injury, which was about three weeks before the trade deadline. At the time, it looked like the Braves might wave the white flag, and who could have blamed them. Instead, Pederson injected some juice into the lineup and immediately helped the Braves cut into the division lead. If that doesn’t happen, I’m not sure the other guys on this list are even acquired.
Perhaps it’s a little too early to put Rosario ahead of Joc. After all, he’s only played 11 games in a Braves uniform, but he’s had quite the impact so far, and I believe it’s sustainable. Rosario has already smacked a couple of homers and has six RBIs for the Braves to go along with his .915 OPS. His positional flexibility is also a plus. It’s comical that the Braves were able to acquire this guy in exchange for Pablo Sandoval, who was going to be released anyways.
2. Adam Duvall
The top two on this list are really 1A and 1B, but I had to pick a winner, and unfortunately for Adam Duvall, it wasn’t him. I’m sure he’ll survive, though, especially when the offseason comes around and teams are lining up to give him a multi-year contract. Duvall now has a ridiculous 12 homers in just 36 games since returning to Atlanta, giving him 34 on the season, which is a career-high and there are still 23 games remaining. I still get a pit in my stomach when I think about how the Braves let this man walk over a couple of million dollars, but thankfully, Anthopoulos realized his mistake and corrected it. Duvall belongs in Atlanta, and the Braves should offer him a multi-year extension to stay this winter.
1. Jorge Soler
This is the deal I give Alex Anthopoulos the most credit for. Soler was hitting just .192 for the Royals and was on nobody’s radar at the trade deadline. However, Alex Anthopoulos said they saw something promising in approach leading up to the trade deadline, and they pulled the trigger on a deal. Well, they were right.
I can’t even fathom how this guy ever hit below the Mendoza Line for nearly 100 games. His power is overwhelmingly apparent, but his approach at the plate isn’t like a player who would struggle to hit .200. Soler is willing to take his walks — he already has 20 of them in 35 games with the Braves — and almost always delivers a quality at-bat. Since coming to Atlanta, he’s hitting .286 with 10 homers, leading to a .925 OPS. I’m interested to see if this is sustainable, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest he is going to slow down substantially.
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