Derrek Lee will take over first base duties, shoring up both the offense and defense after Troy Glaus struggled on both sides for the past few months. The Braves were looking for a right-handed bat, and they have certainly received one. Let’s take a look at what the Braves gave up in order to get their new first baseman.
Robinson Lopez is the best prospect the Braves gave up. The 6-foot-2, right-handed 19-year-old had a 4.37 ERA and 70 strikeouts against 43 walks in 92 2/3 Single-A innings with the Rome Braves. Lopez projects to be a good starter with strong overall mechanics and a good arm. I had Lopez ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the system, which included Mike Minor, who is now on the Major League team.
Tyrelle Harris has spent time at three levels this season, pitching 49 2/3 innings with a 2.90 ERA, almost entirely in relief. Harris has 60 strikeouts and 22 walks between Rome, Myrtle Beach, and Mississippi. He is a potentially strong reliever, but relief prospects are expendable. Since the Braves have some depth at the position in the high minors with Stephen Marek and Craig Kimbrel, along with a number of other starters who may eventually be major league relievers, trading Harris and his potential away does not hurt too much.
Jeffrey Lorick has pitched nearly all of his innings at Rome as he was recently called up to Myrtle Beach. He has a 2.24 ERA over 52 1/3 innings this season with four games started and 23 in relief. The lefty projects more as a specialist as a major leaguer due to his high walk total. Again, the Braves have some solid relief depth and already maintain a strong and young left-side in Atlanta and Gwinnett, so Lorick is a piece that the Braves were obviously willing to part with.
Personally, I am rather upset that Lopez was traded and I was higher on Harris than most are. This may be a lot to give up for a rental, but if Lee pushes the Braves to the playoffs and a potential World Series appearance, then it may be worth it.