Gausman, the Orange Avians first round pick in the 2012 draft out of LSU, has flirted with greatness but never quite put everything together for Baltimore. He’ll get a fresh start with the Braves which does seem like a friendlier environment for him. . .shades of Jake Arrieta getting away from Baltimore and renewing his career with the Cubs perhaps.
Be that as it may, the Orioles farm system is thin and needed a big boost. Who did they get in return? Let’s take a look.
Brett Cumberland, C: Cumberland was drafted in the compensation round of the 2016 draft from the University of California. He opened 2018 with the High-A Florida Fire Frogs, hitting .236/.367/.407 with 11 homers, 52 walks, and 85 strikeouts in 280 at-bats. He was recently promoted to Double-A where he is 2-for-18 (.111) in five games.
Cumberland is 23 years old, a switch-hitter listed at 5-11, 205. Our own resident Braves expert Wayne Cavadi is a fan of Cumberland. When Brett is going well he shows plus bat speed, good plate discipline, and above-average power but his in-game production has been inconsistent. His throwing has improved over time and he’s steadily reduced his error rate, though he still needs more work with blocking and receiving.
Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B: The Braves signed Jean Carlos Encarnacion out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. He emerged in 2017 with a .321/.346/.464 line in rookie ball, then moved up to Low-A Rome for 2018, hitting .288/.314/.463 with 10 homers in 361 at-bats. The slash line is solid but a weak 13/100 BB/K ratio is a caution flag for his chances at higher levels.
Encarnacion is 20 years old, a right-handed hitter listed at 6-3, 195. Power is his best tool and he also has a strong throwing arm, but his hitting philosophy (described by Baseball America as “swing-at-everything”) will be tested against better pitching. He is also very rough with the glove, with an ugly .881 fielding percentage this year. He’s got a high ceiling with the bat but needs a lot of polish.
Evan Phillips, RHP: The Braves drafted Phillips in the 17th round in 2015 from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. He’s having a fine season with Triple-A Gwinnett, posting a 1.99 ERA in 41 innings with a 59/14 K/BB. He appeared briefly in the majors in June and July, pitching 6.1 innings but giving up six runs with three strikeouts and four walks.
Phillips is 6-2, 205, age 23. He has a low-to-mid-90s fastball along with a breaking ball, cutter, and change-up. Talking Chop posted a detailed scouting report for him back in June and he seems to have the basic middle relief package.
Bruce Zimmermann, LHP: Zimmermann was selected in the fifth round in 2017 from the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina. He’s split 2018 between Low-A Rome and Double-A Mississippi, posting a combined 2.86 ERA in 113 innings with a sharp 125/37 K/BB and 99 hits allowed.
Zimmermann is 6-2, 215, age 23. He hasn’t received much attention outside Braves circles but he’s adapted quickly to pro ball and has sleeper markers including a solid statistical record and a low-90s southpaw fastball. His curveball and change-up drew fringy grades in college but the package has worked in pro ball when his command is on. His walk rate has increased since his promotion so he’s got some adjustments to make, but overall he’s got chance as a back-end starter.