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MLB Rookie Report: Ronnier Mustelier, INF, Atlanta Braves

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If you blinked you missed it, but 31-year-old minor league veteran Ronnier Mustelier spent a day in the majors: the Atlanta Braves purchased his contract from Triple-A on July 3rd. He was optioned back to the minors yesterday without seeing a big league at-bat, but for now he has a spot on the 40-man roster and could move up again when the Braves need an extra bat.

Mustelier has an unusual background: he was part of the earlier wave of Cuban players, defecting from Cuba back in 2009 when it was more difficult and less common than it is today. He was picked up by the New York Yankees as a free agent and had a couple of pretty solid years in the high minors, hitting .314/.371/.488 in 2012 and .272/.319/.398 while fighting injuries in 2013. The Yankees released him in 2014 and he ended up in the Mexican League, hitting .429/.486/.558 in 38 games for Laguna. He was out of baseball in 2015 but is back now, signed with the Braves as a free agent and hitting .288/.351/.376 through 74 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Compact but strongly-built at 5-10, 210, Mustelier isn't a big home run hitter but controls the strike zone well and holds a career .312/.367/.453 line in affiliated baseball. He can play third base and the corner outfield spots, not standing out as anything great at any position but not a butcher, either. He is too old at age 31 to be considered a true prospect, but he's hit well when given a chance and has the all-important "cool name tool." He has an outside shot at being a useful role player in the right circumstances.