Late Thursday night the Atlanta Braves completed a minor league trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, sending outfielder Edward Salcedo to the Bucs in exchange for right-handed reliever Bryton Trepagnier.
While neither player is currently considered a prospect, the hopes for Salcedo were once sky-high. In early 2010, Salcedo was given a $1.6 million signing bonus–the largest bonus the Braves have ever given an international player.
For several years after that he routinely appeared among the top-10 on Braves’ prospect lists. His bat-speed and power potential drew raves from scouts and were considered the best in the Braves system (a system that was admittedly weak in power-hitting prospects).
The Braves continued to push Salcedo up the minor league ladder, and even sent him to the Arizona Fall League in 2012. Unfortunately, his bat speed didn’t come with good plate discipline and he fell prey to the K-monster, as so many swing-for-the-fences prospects often do.
Along the way he lost the necessary mobility to play shortstop and was moved to third base. After a couple of years at the hot corner his iron glove was moved to the outfield. All the while his value as a prospect declined because of his positionlessness in the field and lack of improvement at the plate.
However, he’s still only 23-years-old, and already has a year of triple-A under his belt. He needs to repeat triple-A, and maybe even revisit double-A, and at some point his bat could catch up to more pitches, but the promise he once had as a middle-of-the-order regular is long gone.
The pitcher the Braves received in return, Bryton Trepagnier, is like so many relievers throughout the minors–decent mid-90s velocity without the control necessary to make him dominant. Like Salcedo, Trepangnier will be 23 this season, and it could be said that there is still room for him to grow.
He was originally a 41st-round draft pick in 2010 out of a Louisiana high school. His road through the Pirates minor league system has been slow and mostly unimpressive, though last year was by far his best season.
This trade seems more like it was made to get Salcedo out of the Braves system, than it was to acquire this pitcher. Moves like this should be expected when new management of a minor league system takes over. Neither player should be considered among the teams’ top-30 prospects.