Yikes. The first domino has fallen. A little out of left field (no pun intended) the Atlanta Braves have swooped in and grabbed Chicago Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson in exchange Bryce Ball, the #12 prospect in their minor league system.
The fact this move went down two whole weeks before the deadline speaks volumes to Jed Hoyer wanting to sell. If he’s making moves this soon, it sends a pretty clear message in my mind as to what he’s looking to do this month. We knew Joc was on the table to be in had given the fact he’s a free agent-to-be; in fact, we ranked him as the sixth-likeliest Cub to be traded before the end of the month.
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Atlanta needed outfield help after Ronald Acuna Jr. tore his ACL just before the All-Star Break and they hope to find some in Pederson. The former Dodgers outfielder slashed .230/.300/.418 during his brief stint in Chicago, with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. Pederson will now be a rental on a Braves team looking to make a comeback in the standings, currently four games back at 44-45 on the season.
In return, the Cubs snagged 23-year-old infielder Bryce Ball.
Currently with the High-A Rome Braves, Ball is a left-handed first baseman. Not quite to Double-A yet, Ball isn’t exactly close to being called up. He is currently slashing .207/.354/.396 with 35 hits in 169 at-bats, with 19 of them going for extra bases, including six home runs. Though the numbers haven’t quite been there yet for Ball, his potential is still high.
Not an immediate splash impact for the Cubs, the lefty ranked as the #12 prospect in Atlanta’s system and is a player who can still turn into a positive piece both offensively and defensively.
Bryce started his collegiate career in North Iowa Community College, eventually transferring to Dallas Baptist University. In 228 at-bats in Division I baseball, he batted .325/.443/.614 with 18 homers and 54 knocked in. Ball showed extreme plate discipline as well, with 51 walks and 53 strikeouts.
Should Ball eventually work his way through the ranks and find the same success that he had in college, this will easily be looked back at as an absolute steal for the Chicago Cubs.