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The Daily Chop: Second half questions, tough schedule looming and more

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Philadelphia Phillies v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves will return to action on Friday with a number of question marks ahead of them. Atlanta will enter the second half just four games behind the New York Mets in the NL East Division, but will now be without Ronald Acuña Jr. for the remainder of the season. We didn’t have to wait long to see what direction the Braves are planning to go in, at least for now. Atlanta acquired outfielder Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball Thursday night. Later, Alex Anthopoulos said that the team’s focus is on adding to the roster at least for right now.

Anthopoulos said that Pederson will play right field and that the team is hoping to have him in uniform in time for Friday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.

More Braves News

One final look back at the first half as we evaluated the performance of Atlanta’s position players and pitchers in relation to their preseason expectations.

The Athletic’s Keith Law breaks each NL East team’s draft class and says that Atlanta’s first round pick Ryan Cusick might “have had the best fastball in the draft” in terms of velocity plus movement.

Also at The Athletic, a roundtable focused on one breakout player from each team for the second half. For Atlanta it is catcher Travis d’Arnaud who the team is hoping to have back at some point in August.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand lists nine players that are trending up in advance of the trade deadline including Atlanta’s Charlie Morton.

I took a look at how several former Braves are performing with their new teams in 2021.

MLB News

The second half of the MLB season is off to a rough start after Thursday’s game between the Red Sox and the Yankees was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests. At least six New York players are in COVID-19 protocols including All-Star Aaron Judge.

Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago’s 10-game suspension for using a foreign substance has been upheld after an appeal per a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel. Seattle will not be allowed to fill Santiago’s roster spot for the entirety of his suspension.

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed Thursday that outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic will begin the second half with the Major League club.

Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco was set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday night. Carrasco hasn’t pitched all this season after suffering a torn hamstring towards the end of Spring Training.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are reportedly working to finalize a deal with No. 1 overall pick Henry Davis and a deal could be announced as soon as this weekend.

Former Braves prospect Matt Wisler spoke with FanGraphs David Laurila about learning and developing his slider.