The Braves recently agreed to minor league contracts with a number of players, according to an announcement from Double-A broadcaster Chris Harris (Twitter link). Among those joining the organization: infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, outfielders Magneuris Sierra and Forrest Wall, and reliever Brian Moran. All four players will get non-roster invitations to Spring Training. Kiley McDaniel of ESPN first reported Wall’s signing yesterday.
Hechavarria, 33, has the most MLB experience of the group. An everyday shortstop early in his career with the Marlins, he settled into a utility role after being traded to the Rays midway through the 2017 campaign. He played for five different clubs between 2018-20, including 51 games for Atlanta over the latter two seasons that marked his most recent big league action.
The Cuban-born infielder has decent bat-to-ball skills but has primarily been a bottom-of-the-lineup hitter due to modest power and below-average walk rates. He’s compiled a .253/.291/.351 line in just under 3300 big league plate appearances over parts of nine seasons. Hechavarria posted plus defensive grades at shortstop during his time with the Fish but saw those marks drop off by 2019, when he started to see increased work at second and third base.
Hechavarria signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball during the 2020-21 offseason. He limped to a .213/.238/.307 line in 473 combined plate appearances at Japan’s highest level over two seasons. He split his NPB defensive work between shortstop and third base and offers some additional infield depth in Braves’ camp.
Atlanta has Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley cemented at second and third base, respectively, while Vaughn Grissom and Orlando Arcia are set to battle for the shortstop job. Arcia would assume a utility role if Grissom wins that job as most outside observers anticipate, while Braden Shewmake is also on the 40-man roster as a depth option. Hoy Park, Ehire Adrianza and Joe Dunand also figure to get non-roster camp invites.
Sierra, 26, has appeared at the MLB level in each of the last six years. The lefty-swinging outfielder was a highly-regarded prospect thanks to his speed and defensive acumen and was part of the package the Marlins received from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade. He played parts of four years with the Fish but never hit enough to cement himself as a regular. A complete lack of power has kept Sierra from making an offensive impact, as he still has yet to collect a big league home run in 636 plate appearances.
Last season, Sierra got into 45 contests for the Angels as a depth outfielder. He hit .165/.200/.242 through 96 trips to the dish but had posted a roughly league average .297/.358/.437 showing in 76 games with their Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake. Sierra’s just a .228/.273/.272 hitter as a big leaguer. He’s swiped 29 bases in 38 MLB attempts while playing above-average defense in center field.
Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II is obviously locked into center field on an everyday basis for Atlanta. Sierra joins fellow non-roster invitee Kevin Pillar in offering some upper level depth to compete for reps in Spring Training and potentially with Triple-A Gwinnett.
The 27-year-old Wall also steps into that mix, though he has yet to reach the highest level. Selected by the Rockies as a supplemental first-rounder in the 2014 draft, he drew some prospect attention for his contact skills and speed. Wall hit well through his first few minor league campaigns and was dealt to the Blue Jays in 2018 for reliever Seunghwan Oh. After a quality 2019 season in Double-A, the lefty-swinging outfielder saw his bat stall out at the top minor league level.
Wall played the 2022 season with the Mariners as a minor league free agent. He mustered just a .255/.333/.354 line with six home runs over 467 plate appearances in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. That wasn’t enough to earn him a big league look, although he continued to demonstrate the athleticism that had made him an interesting prospect. Wall led all Triple-A players with 52 stolen bases, though he was also thrown out 12 times (the third-highest total at the level). He played mostly center field last year but could be a better fit in left thanks to a below-average throwing arm.
Moran, a sidearming left-hander, joined Sierra in the Angel organization in 2022. Like Hechavarria and Sierra, he’s also a former Marlin. The 34-year-old has pitched in 18 big league games over parts of three seasons, allowing ten runs with 17 strikeouts but nine walks in 11 1/3 innings. He made one MLB outing for the Halos last April, surrendering a couple runs while recording one out against the Rangers.
He had a solid season for Salt Lake, logging 48 2/3 innings of 4.07 ERA ball in the PCL. Moran punched out 24.6% of batters faced against a tiny 6.6% walk percentage. The UNC product was surprisingly hit hard by left-handed batters but limited righties to a putrid .286 on-base percentage in Triple-A. He’ll add some depth behind A.J. Minter, Dylan Lee and Lucas Luetge.
deGrom Texas Ranger
No mention of how 3 of them were former top 100 prospects, according to at least 1 site?
Most players that have played in the major leagues were top 100 &/or highly regarded prospects. The relevant info was shared…the only one that has any real proximity to prospect-dom is Sierra.
deGrom Texas Ranger
That’s a quite subjective and vague statement that makes it easy to exaggerate. Even if we go off the top 100 here, MLB teams have 26 players, which is 780, and many guys get called up for a short period of time. Say it’s 1000. Your statement is not close to true. Even if we say team’s top 30, say half those don’t make it and 5 repeat, for an average of 10 new guys per year – that is only 300 a year. That statement would barely pass.
And it is also quite incorrect…
deGrom Texas Ranger
Looking back at this made me realize how I was unrealistically optimistic here. No team produces 10 new MLB players from their top 30. Even 5 is optimistic. That puts MLB at 150 per year from the top 30 (many of those wouldn’t even be considered top in my definition, but even ignore that).
Most players at some point were in the top 100 of minor league players it could have been when drafted or a few years after that. Also the top 100 is changing during the year as well. just take Braves for that matter last year Grissom and Harris were both top 100 but moved to majors and were taken off the top 100 minor league list meaning 2 players replaced them. I am sure other teams had 2-4 players who were listed in the top 100 and moved up to the majors and replaced on top 100 list.
Or how 3 of the 4 were in the system blue jays and signed by a one time blue jay
Solid depth. 2 weeks till pitchers and catchers!
No mention how a few of these guys are ex Anthopoulos guys when he was in Toronto. Alex definitely likes bringing in guys he’s familiar with.
Forrest Wall should be a MLB regular just based on how sick his name is
Bunch of Marlins legends right there lol
Quite the underwhelming bunch but I guess that’s most minor league deals/ST invites. Kinda shocked ATL didn’t fix LF.
Why shocked? Teams don’t need an all star at every position and the Braves under AA have gambled on players having bounce back years. It could be a lot worse than Ozuna/Rosario. Rosario had eye issues last year which obviously would effect his hitting. Ozuna also hit 23 home runs last year with a subpar batting average. Most fans want Ozuna out more so bc of off the field stuff that was easily predictable would happen.
I agree with your take Soco, but the Braves were dead last in Wins Above Average for LF last year at negative 3.5. The next four above them were Texas, LAA, Oakland and Pittsburgh.
Ozuna really counts more of a DH, but yes, he was in the mix with Duvall and Rosario, who both were injury plagued. Rosario should bet better this year based on his history, but there is no guarantee of that. In that regard, I think Nick is well within reason to say he is shocked.
That being said, I am not certain the Braves are done this offseason.
Mariners had wall, and angels had Sierra, both in their respective triple A teams. One of the few minor league games I went to last season I got to see both get some ABs
Hechavarria is just thanking god he didn’t have to sign with the Mets lol
As opposed to thanking God for any job with any team and being fortunate enough to play a game while making hundreds of thousands of dollars for it.
But in fairness God does hate the Mets lol
I’d seriously consider killing someone for guaranteed MLB minimum. Doesn’t matter what team.
Although I’d ask the Mets for more because of Steve Cohen’s gnarly gross teeth. You’re worth billions and you have doodoo chompers???
Yea this was a joke on comments he made back in the day lol
Sierra looks so great on the grass. And so bad at the plate.
So true, but I still would have been happy if the Cards had brought him back on a minor league deal. Centerfield depth is great to have.
I have no problems with a defense first OF. Duvall was a very good glove out there and he will be missed in the field more than most realize. If Sierra can give us near GG defense then let him hit 9th and be done with it. I would rather have an elite defender out there helping our pitching than see Ozuna out there just because he hits an occasional bomb.
I’m with you. Especially when the lineup is strong enough to absorb one weak bat.
All those runs and hits saved are important.
Backup Catcher to the Backup Catcher
Doubt any of them see the majors this year.
I wanted the Tigers to pick up Adeiny Hechavarria a couple years ago. Regardless if he hit, he played outstanding defense.
Well, at least hech can play defensive at a high enough lvl. That’s kind of the knock on Vaugh is that he might not be able to defensively handle SS. If that’s the case yet he’s hitting, I’d be perfectly fine seeing hech at SS hitting .220 before seeing Eddie or Ozuna doing the same but not capable of catching a fly ball
Shewmake is probably better defensively than Hech at this point in their careers, so if Grissom can’t handle and moves to LF or something, I would prefer to see Shewmake getting starting reps at SS.
Plus, Braves have more prospect depth at SS than any position other than SP. Need to keep moving them up to see what they can do so you know if you can afford to move some of those prospects to fill true holes.