Justin Upton (Chesapeake) trade rumors heating up, 5 teams reportedly interested.
Is there any doubt now that the Atlanta Braves are rebuilding and basically starting over from scratch? With a new head baseball guy in charge of player personnel moves (John Hart), the Braves began retooling this winter by trading Jason Heyward. Now, they reportedly are not done.
CBS Sports.com and Yahoo Sports are reporting that the Braves intend to trade slugger OF Justin Upton (Chesapeake), and one executive even says that it will not be if, but a matter of time before he is moved. If the Cardinals think they got Heyward for a cheap price, any team that wants Upton will not be so lucky. The Braves reportedly will ask for a huge return, in fact bigger than the one they got for Heyward.
Where could Upton land? Several teams have inquired about Upton, including the Astros and Rangers, but I am predicting that he will end up in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Mariners tried to pry him from Arizona before he got shipped to Atlanta, and they have the depth in pitching prospects that the Braves really covet as they begin rebuilding and planning for their scheduled move to their new stadium in suburban Cobb County in 2017.
Last year, Upton hit .270 with 29 HR and 102 RBIs. He is a 2-time all-star and 2-time Silver Slugger.
When the Atlanta Braves engineered a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks to bring slugging outfielder Justin Upton (Chesapeake) to the east coast before the 2013 season, it was partly to reunite him with his brother BJ, and also to add a potent bat to a solid Braves lineup.
In 2013, Upton hit .263 with 27 HR and 70 RBIs. In the just completed 2014 season, Upton upped those numbers. he hit .270 with 29 HR and a career high 102 RBIs. He was 4th in the NL in HR, 3rd in RBIs, and his slugging percentage of .491 was 8th in the National League.
Upton’s 2014 exploits were rewarded Thursday when he was named a Silver Slugger. This was his second SS award, winning his first in 2011 with Arizona.
MLB’s 2014 postseason awards started in full swing with the presentation of the Gold Gloves. The Braves were represented on the GG squad, by a repeat winner.
SS Andrelton Simmons (Lynchburg, 2011) won his second straight Gold Glove by turning in another solid season defensively. He did make 14 errors, the same as a season ago, but posted a still solid .978 Fielding Percentage, and he led all NL SS with 99 Double Plays turned, as well as a 3.9 Wins Above Replacement on defense.
This was the second straight Gold Glove for Simmons, who played 131 games for Lynchburg in 2011 when coming up in the Braves system.
One of the longest-tenured franchises in all of minor league baseball, much less the Carolina League, will have a new parent club in 2015. The Lynchburg Hillcats have parted ways with the Atlanta Braves after four years, and will now become the High-A Carolina League affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians chose not to renew their affiliation with the Carolina Mudcats (formerly the Kinston Indians), a franchise partnership that dates back to 1987, a 25-year affiliation, and decided to go in a different direction, hooking up with a full-season affiliate that is the furthest from Cleveland, 480 miles apart from homeplate at Progressive Field. The deal between the Indians and Hillcats runs through 2018.
Meanwhile, the Braves chose not to re-up after just 4 years in Hillcity, a partnership in which the Hillcats won the 2012 Carolina League championship and current Atlanta Braves stars Evan Gattis, Andrelton Simmons, and former UVA star Phil Gosselin played here.
The Potomac Nationals are headed back to the Mills Cup Championship series!!!!!!!!!!
The Potomac Nationals, the High-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, defeated the Lynchburg Hillcats last night, 4-3, thanks to a solid all-around team effort. Isaac Ballou (Smithfield) had a solo HR in the first, part of his 2-hit, 2-run, 2-RBI night, Brian Rauh allowed 3 hits and one solo HR over 6 innings, and Gilberto Mendez got a 4-out save. Brandon Miller, the only Potomac starting batter to not get a hit all night, unleashed a no-bounce peg from his position to throw out the tying run at home plate to end the 7th inning. Lynchburg never threatened the last 2 innings, and Potomac will play for the Carolina League title.
It is unclear who they will play, as the Salem-Myrtle Beach series will go to a 3rd and deciding game tonight.
The Carolina League playoffs are all set. In the Northern Division Championship Series. Potomac will take on Lynchburg in the NDCS. All games are in Woodbridge, Game 1 is Wednesday September 3 at 7:05 PM. Game 2 is the following night, and if necessary, Game 3 is Friday night.