Braves Spring Training News & Rumors Roundup: Atlanta Adds Pitching Depth, Gant Impresses

Spring Training has already begun for the Atlanta Braves, as the focus has finally shifted from MLB front offices to the players on the field. However, there's still some activity from the MLB Hot Stove to work through. With that in mind, here are the latest Braves rumors and news for March 20th. 

Braves claim Jesse Biddle
Atlanta has claimed left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle off waivers after he was waived by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Biddle, a former first-round pick, is recovering from Tommy John surgery he had in October.

“I spoke with him and he said that he’s very happy to be here,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “Obviously he won’t pitch this year, so it’s something where … we’ve got a lot of experience with guys who are in his situation, and we’ve seen some real good things out of guys who went through this last year, like Max Fried, A.J. Minter (prospects coming back from T.J. surgery).

“You won’t see him in 2016, but as we keep trying to add arms and add upside, this is a guy who was a former top-100 prospect that our scouts like. Just kind of see what happens. You see the price of pitching out there, and the more depth you can have the better off you’re going to be.”

Biddle posted a 5.67 ERA in 24 starts in Double-A and Triple-A last season before having Tommy John surgery.

John Gant pushing for spot in rotation
Surprisingly, pitcher John Gant is the last remaining top prospect with the Braves this spring, and there's a real chance that he could stick at the big league level this season. FOX Sports' Zach Dillard explains:

He owns a 1.08 ERA in 8 1/3 innings pitched, logging five strikeouts and just one walk this spring. Opposing hitters are slashing just .200/.226/.233 against him.

Gant exemplifies the upside vs. production debate.

He's posted excellent numbers throughout the minors, rebounding from rocky 2011 and 2012 seasons in rookie ball to post three straight seasons of a sub-4.00 FIP (fielding-independent pitching) with, for the most part, even better ERA numbers. At Double-A Mississippi, he posted an excellent 1.99 ERA in 40 2/3 innings pitched. His numbers dwarf those of Jenkins and Sims at the same affiliate last season. He may not have the top-end "stuff" of the aforementioned names, but he's proven in camp that he's at least capable of staring down MLB hitters.

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Related Topics: MLB News, Braves News, John Gant, Jesse Biddle