Bidding Adieu To Sean Gilmartin

Al Messerschmidt

Atlanta traded their 2011 first-rounder yesterday. What exactly did they lose?

Yesterday, Atlanta shipped Sean Gilmartin to the Twins for one year of Ryan Doumit. Doumit will presumably be the veteran bench bat that Wren was looking for, and could spell Gattis, Freeman, or the corner outfielders if needed. But what exactly did Atlanta give up for him? In short, not much.

Sean Gilmartin was Atlanta's first round pick in 2011, drafted 28th overall. It was seen as a bit of a reach at that point in the draft, but it wasn't a crazy pick. Gilmartin was a college guy that would sign quick and for cheap, two things the Braves were concerned with at the time.

Scouting reports on Gilmartin varied, with some saying he could be as good as a #3 starter and others saying he'd never be anything more than a back-end guy. The only things he really had going for him was his changeup, his makeup, and his control.

Though Gilmartin has an above-average changeup, his fastball is average at best, sitting in the upper80s. This means he must rely on control to get hitters out; if he can't hit his spots, he will struggle. Though Gilmartin has an advanced feel for his changeup, it isn't truly a "swing-and-miss" type offering, which leaves him with no real good out pitch. And that's not good.

This really showed in AAA Gwinnett last year, where Gilmartin only struck out 65 batters in 91 innings (15.8%). He also walked 8% of the batters he faced, a number that has been steadily increasing every year in the minors. For a guy whose big league career would have to be predicated on pinpoint control, that's not a great sign. The rest of his numbers paint an even grimmer picture. Gilmartin posted a 5.74 ERA (4.61 FIP) in those 91 AAA innings this year. Combine that with a WHIP of 1.59, and it's easy to see how mediocre he's been.

Given these numbers, it seems apparent that Gilmartin may never make the bigs. If he does, it certainly won't be as anything more than a #5 starter. Throw in the shoulder injury that he dealt with in the middle of this year, and it's pretty easy to see why the Braves were all right with letting him go. He would have never been anything more than an 8th or 9th option to start a big league game for the Braves.

As a side note, I know some fans are frustrated with how poorly this first round pick did. To them, I would say that this is the rule, not the exception. Baseball is a crazy game. An insanely small percentage of drafted players will ever play in the bigs. The first round is no less of a crapshoot. One just needs to look at the 2011 first round (where Gilmartin was taken) to see that. Sure, there are some stars here. But there are many more who have stalled in the minors, whose time may never come. Others may just be average players or role players. Does it suck that Atlanta didn't get more value out of this pick? Of course. But it happens. That's baseball.

Be glad that Atlanta was able to get some value out of a piece that they would have likely never used themselves.

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