The Braves have struck a deal to acquire outfield prospect Alex Jackson from the Mariners, per club announcements. Righties Rob Whalen and Max Povse are headed to Seattle in the deal, in which Atlanta will also pick up a player to be named later. The Mariners designated righty Ryan Weber to create 40-man roster space.
Jackson, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, is still just twenty years old and has only played two professional seasons. But GM Jerry Dipoto — who wasn’t at the helm in Seattle when Jackson was selected — evidently didn’t see enough evidence of his future potential.
Despite a tough 2015 debut year, Jackson received some top-100 leaguewide billing entering the 2016 campaign. He did show some improvement at the Class A level, but ended with a relatively meager .243/.332/.408 batting line and 11 home runs over 381 plate appearances. Jackson also went down on strikeouts 103 times while drawing 34 walks.
Whalen, 22, received his first five major league starts last year, allowing a 18 earned runs and a dozen walks but also limiting opposing batters to twenty base hits while compiling a healthy 25 strikeouts. He was much better in his first attempt at the upper minors, too. Across 120 total frames split between Double-A and Triple-A, Whalen compiled a 2.40 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. The righty originally came to Atlanta from the Mets along with John Gant in the 2015 deadline deal for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe.
Though Whalen figures to play a role in Seattle’s pitching depth, Povse may be the real get here for the M’s. The 23-year-old is a consistent strike thrower despite his 6’8 frame. Working last year at the High-A and Double-A levels, he ran up 158 innings of 3.36 ERA pitching with 7.9 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 — though his strikeout numbers drooped following his promotion.
In adding two players to their roster, the Mariners had to clear a spot. That will mean exposing the 26-year-old Weber to waivers. Actually, Weber landed in Seattle from Atlanta earlier this month through a waiver claim after providing 64 2/3 innings to the Braves over the last two seasons. Though he’s also a low-walk hurler, having averaged just 1.5 free passes per nine in the majors, he has managed only a 5.15 ERA in the bigs while logging 5.8 K/9. Weber has posted sub-3.00 earned run averages in the upper minors in each of the past two seasons, while working mostly in a relief capacity.