Atlanta Braves Add Five Prospects To 40-Man Roster

Wednesday, November 21, 2012
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ATLANTA -- Highly regarded catching prospect Christian Bethancourt headlines the group of five players the Braves have added to their 40-man roster. The other additions were right-handed pitchers Zeke Spruill, Cory Rasmus, David Hale and Aaron Northcraft.

Major League Baseball's deadline to protect players was Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five years or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years old are to be protected within four years.

Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Rule 5 Draft, to be held on Dec. 6 at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings in Nashville. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

Atlanta now has 36 players on its 40-man roster.

The Braves have signed veteran backup catcher Gerald Laird with the expectation that he will serve as their starting catcher for most of April while Brian McCann recovers from right shoulder surgery. Bethancourt will be among the candidates who could begin next season as Laird's backup.

But the expectations are that the Braves will give the 21-year-old Bethancourt -- ranked No. 2 on MLB.com's Top 20 Braves prospects list -- a chance to spend most of the 2013 season enhancing his offensive skills at the Minor League level. His rifle arm and great athletic skills have drawn rave reviews from a defensive standpoint. But he hit .243 with a .566 OPS while playing 71 games with Double-A Mississippi last year.

Bethancourt broke his left hand when he was hit with a pitch in early August. But after allowing the injury to heal for two months, he has spent the past couple of weeks playing in the Dominican Winter League. In 11 games with Licey, he has batted .286 (8-for-28) with three doubles.

Spruill caught the attention of manager Fredi Gonzalez during Spring Training, and then posted a 3.67 ERA in 27 starts for Mississippi this past summer. The 23-year-old right-hander from suburban Atlanta posted a 3.63 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .250 in seven starts during this year's Arizona Fall League.

Hale produced some encouragement while serving as a full-time starting pitcher for the first time in his career this year. The 25-year-old product of Princeton University posted a 3.77 ERA in 27 starts with Mississippi. He recorded 124 strikeouts and issued 67 walks in 145 2/3 innings.

Rasmus has endured an injury-plagued career since being selected by the Braves in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. The 25-year-old right-hander posted a 3.68 ERA and recorded 62 strikeouts while issuing 32 walks in 58 2/3 relief innings with Mississippi this year. He surrendered 18 hits and 12 earned runs in 14 innings during the AFL.

Northcraft compiled a 3.98 ERA in 27 starts for Class Advanced Lynchburg this year. The 22-year-old right-hander recorded 160 strikeouts and issued 53 walks in 151 2/3 innings.

----- Source: MLB.com


Randy Smith: Give Butch Some Credit

You really have to give Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones a lot of credit. When the season ended with a thud in that loss to Vanderbilt, Coach Jones didn't just wallow in his own personal misery, he hit the recruiting trail running full steam ahead. It just so happens that the Vols landed not only the state of Tennessee's top recruit, but offensive lineman Trey Smith from ... (click for more)

Inaugural Covenant Track And Field Schedule Finalized

The inaugural season of Covenant track and field will begin in February as head coach Katie Stanford has finalized the 2017 schedule. Overall, Covenant will compete in seven events from February until mid-April. "This is an exciting time at Covenant as we start the first-ever track and field season," Ms. Stanford said. "We have a great group of athletes ready to get out on ... (click for more)

2 Juveniles Arrested For Arson In Sevier County Fires

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in charges being placed against two juveniles in connection with the deadly wildfires in Sevier County.  Last week, at the request of 4 th  District Attorney ... (click for more)

Walker County Will No Longer Have Full-Time County Attorney Under Whitfield Tenure; Will Add Full-Time Communications Director

Incoming Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said under his administration there will no longer be a full-time county attorney. "We will outsource this service on a fee basis," he said. Mr. Whitfield said he has begun interviewing attorneys who might be able to help out the county from time to time. Don Oliver has long been the county attorney for Walker County ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Cost Of No Discipline

At the start of the current school year, state education officials gathered at some “state testing task force” when disciplinary records from across Tennessee happened to be revealed. You probably are unaware of this, as it seems to have been kept on the “down low,” but statewide a full 20 percent of the black males in our public schools were suspended at least once during the 2014-2015 ... (click for more)