Bill Shanks

Braves-Mariners trades look good for Atlanta so far

Luiz Gohara has been a key piece to an Atlanta-Seattle trade.
Luiz Gohara has been a key piece to an Atlanta-Seattle trade.

John Coppolella of the Braves and Jerry Dipoto of the Mariners have established themselves as two of the most aggressive and active general managers in baseball.

Last offseason, Coppolella and Dipoto made two trades, mostly of minor leaguers or unproven players who had some big-league experience.

It was two trades, but we could look at it as one big one deal.

Luiz Gohara – P – Atlanta Braves

Thomas Burrows – P – Atlanta Braves

Alex Jackson – OF/C – Atlanta Braves

Tyler Pike – P – Atlanta Braves

Mallex Smith – OF – Seattle Mariners

Shae Simmons – P – Seattle Mariners

Rob Whalen – P – Seattle Mariners

Max Povse – P – Seattle Mariners

The Braves and Mariners swapped eight players, with three (Smith, Simmons and Whalen) having big league time. The rest were minor leaguers. Seattle actually spun Smith to Tampa Bay later that same day of the trade with the Braves.

Let’s see how those players are doing.

Gohara has been perhaps the best pitching prospect in Atlanta’s system this season. He’s 3-0 with an ERA of 1.69 in six starts. He’s allowed 28 hits in 32 innings, six runs, seven walks and 30 strikeouts.

Burrows is in the Rome bullpen. He’s got a 0.68 ERA in his first seven games, with nine hits allowed in 13.1 innings, six walks and 12 strikeouts.

Jackson leads the Atlanta system with seven home runs. He’s hitting .284 with a .318 on base percentage, 17 RBI and five doubles. The Braves are finally seeing why Jackson was rated as the top-rated high school offensive player coming out of the draft a few years ago.

Pike has been perhaps the biggest surprise in Atlanta’s system this season. He’s 2-1 with an ERA of 2.16, 22 hits allowed in 33.1 innings, 10 runs, eight earned runs, 12 walks and a system-leading 37 strikeouts.

Smith played eight games in Tampa Bay. He hit .273 with three stolen bases. He’s also played five games in Triple-A, hitting .333 with three stolen bases. He’s back in Durham, as the Rays have no room for him now in their outfield.

Simmons has yet to pitch yet in 2017. He’s one of the few that have struggled coming back from Tommy John surgery. He was a hard thrower, but Simmons has just never been right since his operation.

Whalen has made just one start in Triple-A Tacoma. He allowed six hits in 4.2 shutout innings, with one walk and four strikeouts.

Povse has made five starts for Arkansas, Seattle’s Double-A affiliate. He’s 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA, with 22 hits allowed in 28.2 innings, nine walks and 21 strikeouts.

So far, in a small sample size, the Braves have done well in these two trades. Gohara and Pike have given the Braves two left-handed starting pitching prospects. Burrows is an interesting lefty relief prospect, and Jackson has provided an intriguing option at catcher for a team not rich in catching prospects.

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