The Braves announced Tuesday that they’ve promoted right-hander Jasseel De La Cruz and optioned Touki Toussaint to their alternate training site. De La Cruz will make his MLB debut the first time he gets into a game.
Ranked as Atlanta’s No. 12 prospect at each of Baseball America, FanGraphs and MLB.com on their respective midseason updates, the 23-year-old De La Cruz will be the latest promising Braves arm to try to help patch an injury-decimated pitching staff. He split the 2019 season between Class-A, Class-A Advanced and Double-A, pitching to a collective 3.25 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9 and a healthy 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.
Scouting reports at BA, FanGraphs and MLB.com all credit De La Cruz with a mid-90s heater that can reach the upper 90s and, per BA, has occasionally scratched triple digits. He’s made strides with his slider and improved his changeup as well, but while he’s worked as a starter for most of his minor league career, his violent delivery leads many to believe that he’s eventually bullpen-bound. That would allow his heater to play up and perhaps allow De La Cruz to focus on the better of his two offspeed offerings, which is currently his slider.
It doesn’t appear as though De La Cruz will start a game anytime soon, so he could just be bullpen depth for the time being. David O’Brien of The Athletic tweeted last night that the Braves expect to start Huascar Ynoa today, with Cole Hamels coming off the injured list for his season debut tomorrow and Max Fried slated to return Friday. (The Braves are off Thursday.) As such, there’s no guarantee that De La Cruz will get into a game before he’s sent back out, but Atlanta fans could still get a glimpse of the future in the coming days if he’s called upon.
The impending activation of Hamels and Fried should be a welcome breath of fresh air for a Braves club that has continually struggled to piece together its starting staff in the wake of myriad injuries and unexpectedly poor performances. They’re still a lock to make the postseason, holding a 2.5-game lead in the NL East at present, but the type of starting pitching they’ve received recently wouldn’t instill much confidence in a playoff series. However, a group led by Fried, Ian Anderson and a hopefully healthy Hamels looks considerably more impressive.
Cool. Excited to see what he brings, heard good things. Maybe he and Ynoa can piggy back off each other today. Ynoa is really only good for a few innings.. if that.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
If they can get anything decent out of Hamels…Fried,Anderson,Hamels will be plenty to go deep in the playoffs. Remember what Arizona did with just 2 studs in Johnson/Schilling? They have the offense and bullpen. It doesn’t really matter who wins it all this year anyway with a 60 game season. The World Series winner will always have a * next to it.
I don’t buy that this season shouldn’t count… this is such an up and down year, that whoever wins deserves it more so than any year ever before. Such a crazy covid filled year with an extended playoff format with no fans… that’s tough man. Yes the season is shorter, but tough is tough. I’d consider the Astros WS more * worthy than any World Series winner this year
That’s neat that you don’t buy it but reality is most wont consider the winner this year as much of a champion.
You can whine and cry that’s not accurate or fair all you want but I can almost guarantee that will be the general consensus from most people’s perspective.
I don’t think so. Everyone had the same number of games. In fact, I think any hypothetical asterisk comes more from the announcement of no off days inside the bubble after the trade deadline and a mere two weeks notice. Historically, teams only plan for 3-4 starters in a postseason rotation, so MLB didn’t really give their teams time to plan for 4-5 guys they’d be comfortable giving a postseason start too.
I don’t know how you can guarantee what the reality and general consensus of most people is. There’s no asterisks on banners.
And I don’t trust Hamels and Anderson to go deep in the playoffs. Honestly, I don’t trust fried either. Yes that sounds crazy and he’s having a cy young like year… but gez… he’s super inexperienced, Anderson is even more inexperienced … and Hamels is a pure wild card at this moment and he hasn’t been that amazing the last year or soo….. I just don’t buy that rotation will take us deep… can they? Sure… but so can a lot of random 3 guys lol
We’ll look back and realize how silly it was to actually think a rookie and a guy who is literally building his pitch count with a week to go was going to stabilize a rotation on the way to a World Series. As great and important as Fried has been (and longterm, I think he’ll have a better career than even Soroka), he still hasn’t completed seven innings in a start.
Without a truly historical offensive stretch and great bullpen, the Braves would be closer to the Nationals than the #2-3 seed in the postseason. I’ve just decided that after losing three months of the season, I’m just going to appreciate watching the Braves for as long as I can this year.
I can respect that. Glad to have it but my fandom is still frustrated with AA and Mgmt in general
It’s still pretty shocking that the Braves didn’t bring in at least one of Wheeler, Ryu, Strasburg, or even bring back Keuchel to stabilize the rotation so they wouldn’t have to reach this far down into their farm at this point of the season. Obviously Stras wouldn’t have done that in hindsight and they couldn’t foresee Soroka going down, but the amount of starts they’ve given to mediocre or just plain bad pitchers is kind of embarrassing for a team that could have battled for best in the league.
Wheeler/Stras were never a possibility with their asking prices, I’d even venture to say Ryu. Keuchel got 3x what we paid Hamels. Even injured, I’d rather take a chance on Hamels for 1 shortened year than 3 years of Keuchel.
Folty, Newcomb have pitched abysmally — 2 rotation spots
King Felix opted out — 1 rotation spot
Hamels has been injured — 1 rotation spot
Soroka injured (lost for year) — 1 rotation spot
Wright, Touki, Ynoa all unable to solidify rotation spots so far
Fortunately, Anderson/Fried have worked out so far, but how can anyone really think they’ll be without any of these 8 possible options (though Ynoa has really never been thought of securing a rotation spot)?
yeah, cant blame them for the rotation *that* much, everything has gone wrong so far. that said, they should have made a bigger deadline move then Milone.
It’s not just about last offseason. This front office has had three offseasons and deadlines to upgrade the rotation. Guys like Bauer, Gray, Morton, Keuchel, Lynn, Clevinger, Sanchez, Corbin, Minor, Grienke, etc. have been on the block or market during that span.
The best the Braves have done is Kevin Gausman, 1/2 a year of Keuchel (who shouldn’t have been on the market in June), Milone, and Hamels, who the Braves have all of three innings from thus far. Give credit for picking up Anibal Sanchez on a minor deal in 2018, but they let him walk to the champion Nationals after that.
I still think they should’ve done more with the rotation. Whether that be by paying one of those guys or dealing for someone with their loaded farm. Especially with the way things have played out, Tommy Milone cannot be your teams big deadline addition.
I can see it now your Nlcs MVP Tommy Milone 3-0 1.65 era lol.
LoL if malone has to pitch 3 times in the NLCS alone than we got some serious problems ahead for us
Braves fans should be glad they didnt sign Stras. Hes currently injured and that contract isn’t looking so good.
Ryu is pitching well but his injury history was a safer bet not to sign him to 4-5 years.
Wheeler is pitching extremely well Braves would have loved to have him. Same with Keuchel. 1 of those 2 they should have gone for harder.
They definitely messed up not acquiring rotation help during the deadline.
The bigger mess up imo is they didnt try to acquire guys to shorten games for their pitching staff. Holland, Bradley, or even go all in on Hader would have been equally as effective.
Your opener or SP goes through order twice at most or 3-4 innings, then switch till the 6th or 7th and pen game.
arthur blank_for owner
They negotiated with Wheeler but wouldn’t go over 3 years. There is apparently a hard 3 year cap on free agent offers even though the front office will never admit it no matter how much they spin why they didn’t sign a free agent. Sometimes you gotta go 4 or 5 years and hope to get 2 or 3 year good years out of a free agent… front office wants their cake and eat it too smh…
Do you have a source that states the Braves made a 3 year offer to Wheeler?
FredMcGriff for the HOF
That’s the first I heard of the Braves negotiating with Wheeler….
Yep. Same here. I’m sure the Braves at least placed a phone call but an actual offer, even informal, is news to me. But, even though I follow Braves news closely, it’s not impossible something got by.
he’s drawing rave reviews in this header photo
I laughed when the only options in our database were his photo day headshots and that lone shot with O’Brien. Didn’t take long for the “rave reviews” comments to start to filter in, ha.
sorry, it was obligatory
It brings me tremendous joy that even Steve appreciates this meme
De La Cruz has started in the minors, but I agree with article author, De La Cruz will likely see action out of the pen. If he performs well, De La Cruz would be another option in the pen next season.
I feel bad for Touki. He has a mid-90s FB and a good curve (maybe his best pitch).. But his control on the FB needs to mature and he hangs too many pitches (maybe the slider). Touki may be a good rotation piece some day, but it won’t be this season.
Touki bugs me. Go to Pitcherlist and look at his pitches if you haven’t already. Everything is on the same plane. Once I saw that and started looking for it in games it became so obvious.
Curveball is thrown with low arm angle and really just breaks to the side instead of any downward movement. Sure, it gets some oohs and ah’s, but it’s basically just a parking lot princess.
4-seamer has no explosiveness at all. It actually looks more like a two seamer only with less fade.
Changeup – this one does the same. It doesn’t move. Doesn’t break down, fade, slide, anything.
Basically. First time through it’s guessing at pitches. Second time through, hitters are focused on whatever plane it is coming in at and by eliminating the vertical they are basically just fouling off pitches until they get one they can annihilate or he eventually walks them. They have to develop some sort of pitch for him that changes the swing plane or he will never be a useful SP. It’s either that or get him to change his delivery, which they have been trying to do for years and can’t.
Quite frankly, Newcomb and Folty are very similar, and it’s starting to look like Wright and Wilson are as well. Their lack of vertical usage is so mind-numbing it’s amazing. When they are at their best Folty is getting people to look for fastballs up and snapping off his sweeping slider low. When Newcomb is at his best, he stays on top of his breaking stuff as his arm angle stays high and his curve and slider have quick downward bites. When his arm flattens the pitches do not drop as much and it’s easily fouled off. It should be easily fixed with good coaching.
Quite frankly, I am not going to blame the pitchers any longer. The Braves system is failing them. These guys have too many good pitches to have something so rec league bringing them down. If AA does anything useful this offseason, they better upgrading their pitching development.
Marlins be coming…….
Overachievers. Taking away the 29-9 stomp they’d still have a negative Run Diff.
Been a Brave fan since 1959, current ownership and management are reactive and seldom proactive. If the goal is just making the playoffs then this is the formula and hoping you find a Soroka every couple of seasons, Fried was acquired and the Padres will be kicking themselves like we have about Adam Wainwright.
You can dumpster dive all you want for 30-35 year old starting pitchers but you won’t get much bang for the buck, even if the bucks are cheap. Hamels is a colossal fail and at least Krueschal was sound if only a .500 pitcher.
Prospects after a few years either are worth keeping or should be traded or waived, Atlanta holds on to marginal players far to long.
Ownership is cheap, no way around the truth, Acuna and Albies signed on the cheap considering their talent, age and upsides. Will be interesting seeing how they handle Freeman’s new extension.
It’s either AA or the scouts, they just can’t pull a deal for even a good starting pitcher, Soroka, Fried and Anderson are unlikely to become Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux….. need a couple more starters.
Oh well…… winter meetings give us a sliver of hope.