Mallex Smith and John Gant have been added to the Atlanta Braves' 40-man roster. The move keeps the pair from being available in the Rule V Draft in December. Neither move was considered a surprise.
Smith was acquired a year ago from San Diego in the Justin Upton trade. He had a tremendous first season in Atlanta's farm system. First in AA Mississippi, Smith hit .340 with two home runs, 22 RBI, 23 stolen bases and a .418 on base percentage. Then in AAA Gwinnett, Smith hit .281 with no home runs, 13 RBI, 34 stolen bases and a .339 on base percentage.
Smith's combined numbers for 2016: a .306 batting average, a .373 on base percentage, 35 RBI and 57 stolen bases.
The Braves believe Smith could be ready to contribute in Atlanta at some point in the 2016 season.
Gant is also a new Braves prospect, acquired from the Mets in the Kelly Johnson/Juan Uribe trade. Gant is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher who made seven starts for the Mississippi Braves at the end of the season. He was 4-0 with an ERA of 1.99, 28 hits allowed in 40.2 innings, 14 walks and 43 strikeouts.
Gant had split the 2015 season in High-A and Double-A for the Mets before the trade. His overall numbers for the season: 10-5, 3.08 ERA in 24 starts, 122 hits allowed in 140.1 innings, 50 walks and 134 strikeouts.
The Braves expect Gant to compete for a rotation spot in Gwinnett to start the season, and like Smith we could see Gant at some point next summer in Atlanta.
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