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Introducing New Prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis

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In this installment of get-to-know a new Braves prospect, we take a look at newcomers Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, boys and girls, its time to accept the fact that Andrelton Simmons is no longer a Brave. That is an incredibly sad sentence to have to write. However, all is not lost (we also lost Jose Briceno from the organization who is, essentially, a throw-in). The big additions to the organization, other than Erick Aybar at the major league level, are prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis, the Angels top two prospects.

Let's take a look at the new Braves prospects.

Sean Newcomb

LHP - AA - 1st Round Pick (15th overall) in 2014

A college starter before being picked in the draft, Sean Newcomb has a frame most talent evaluators love to see out of a pitcher. At 6'5 and 240 pounds, the imposing lefty has a fastball that routinely hits the mid-90's and if he reaches back he can hit 97-98. His breaking ball and changeup are both good as well, although they are not as developed as his fastball. He struck out 168 batters 136 innings in 2015 in the minors, so its safe to say that there is plenty of swing and miss in his game. However, just because he is a college pitcher doesn't mean he is topped out developmentally. Given that he was from a small school and doesn't have a ton of miles on his arm yet, many scouts think he could continue to gain strength and get even better. MLB Pipeline has him as the 19th best overall prospect in baseball with other publications also showing him some love. He was also a Futures Game invite and performed well there as well.

The Angels had progress Newcomb, their top prospect at the time, to AA quickly and with good reason. The 2.75 ERA he posted in AA was the highest he posted at any level as he has dominated the competition thus far in the minors. Keith Law and others have remarked that Newcomb could be a special player with the physical gifts he has in addition to the talent he has as a pitcher. He is likely (although it's not a given) to be the best pitching prospect in the Braves' system now (and very possibly number one overall)  which is no small bar to reach. He will most likely start next season at AAA, although a short stint in AA to get acclimated wouldn't be crazy either. Expect Newcomb to compete for a rotation spot and, barring setbacks, get it in 2017 with an outside chance at a call-up in late 2016 if he continues the work he is doing.


Chris Ellis

RHP - AA - 3rd Round pick (88th overall) in 2014

The Angels sure seemed to like college pitchers and Ellis was no different. Another player who had progressed quickly through the Angels' system mainly due to age/developmentally superiority, but the performance was there as well. While not as dominant as Newcomb, Ellis performed well as he was quickly pushed up to AA in his first year as a professional. He struck out a little less than a batter an inning, but he primary mode of getting outs is a fastball that, while not overpowering, he is very adept at locating well to generate ground balls and jamming hitters. He has a good changeup that works well with his fastball as its hard to pick up until far too late usually. He also throws a curveball which is good sometimes and....not so good at others. Control isn't Ellis' problem in the slightest as he works the zone well, but he does get hit hard at times because he leaves pitches up which is a bit of a problem.

Ellis is on a similar trajectory as Newcomb in terms of his estimated arrival time, although its far less certain in Ellis' case. He started off in the bullpen before he became a starter and its possible that he may be best suited for a role in the bullpen but Angels, and now the Braves, are going to first see if he can stick as a starter before possibly trying him in the bullpen. He wasn't nearly as dominant as Newcomb was last season, so he may need a little more time. However, as a 23 year old, he cannot really linger in the minors too long either. Expect him to get a look at the beginning of 2017 with a midseason call-up being more likely.