The Braves signed outfielder Jordan Luplow to a minor league deal last Wednesday, according to his transaction log on MLB.com. Luplow, a client of ALIGND Sports Agency, signed with Atlanta last offseason, too, but was designated for assignment before playing a game on the big league squad. He split the rest of his season between the Blue Jays’ and Twins’ organizations.
Luplow began his career with the Pirates, who selected him in the third round of the 2014 draft. After two seasons with Pittsburgh in 2017 and ’18, the 30-year-old outfielder was traded three times in three years, first to the Guardians, then to the Rays, and finally to the Diamondbacks. His best performance came in 2019, his first year in Cleveland, when the righty batter hit 15 home runs in 85 games, slashing .276/.372/.551. Unfortunately, he struggled in the pandemic-shortened season, lost much of the following year to an ankle injury, and produced what was arguably the worst performance of his career the year after that. The veteran hit .176 with a .634 OPS across 83 games in 2022, and the D-backs DFA’d him in November.
Shortly thereafter, Luplow elected free agency and signed a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Braves. However, he was cut five days into the season, having played just three games at Triple-A Gwinnett. The Blue Jays scooped him up off waivers but didn’t have much big league playing time to offer; Luplow played 48 games at Triple-A Buffalo and only 7 with Toronto. The Jays DFA’d Luplow after the trade deadline, and this time the Twins came calling. They had more opportunities for Luplow, getting him into 32 big league games over the final two months of the season, but left him off the postseason roster in October. Overall, he hit .208 with a .647 OPS in 39 MLB games last season, while slashing .237/.342/.418 across 54 contests in the minors.
Although his offensive numbers have been uninspiring for several years now, Luplow has always drawn walks at a high rate, and his career splits against left-handed pitching are rather impressive (33 home runs and an .833 OPS in 565 PA), even if his 2019 season is doing most of the heavy lifting in that department. What’s more, his strong arm and slightly above-average speed make him a capable option in an outfield corner.
Atlanta has one of the most talented rosters in the league, but there could be a spot for Luplow if he shines in Spring Training. Forrest Wall is currently penciled in as the fourth outfielder, but the long-time minor leaguer only has 15 MLB plate appearances under his belt. What’s more, the Braves currently have just 12 position players on their 40-man roster, and they’re surely planning to add more before Opening Day.