Some reasons to be excited about the Braves latest trade

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The Braves added Sam Hilliard from the Rockies in exchange for one of their 2021 draft picks. On the surface, it may not look like much. Hilliard only hit .184 last season with a .544 OPS over 70 games. That doesn’t sound like anybody who is going to contribute in Atlanta next season. However, his peripherals suggest this could be a trade with a decent amount of upside for the Braves. Throw in the fact that it took very little to acquire Hilliard, and it might be another genius under-the-radar addition by Alex Anthopoulos.

Justin Turner and Max Muncy are lofty comparisons, but we’ve seen Kevin Seitzer turn around players before. Jorge Soler is a guy who comes to mind. Baseball Savant has Hilliard listed:

97th Percentile in Max Exit Velocity

85th Percentile in Sprint Speed

90th Percentile in Arm Strength

Hilliard also had a staggering 48.7% hard-hit percentage, so he’s no stranger to giving a pitch a ride. One of his bigger problems is his 44.5% ground ball percentage. If the Braves can unlock his swing, you’re talking about adding a potential impact player for next to nothing.

Hilliard could be a replacement for Guillermo Heredia on the bench, and who knows, perhaps he can blossom to even more than that. One thing Alex Anthopoulos has been the best at during his tenure as Braves GM is finding lesser-known players that end up being substantial contributors. Hilliard has the chance to be added to the list.

Photographer: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire

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