John Gant: Top-Tier Prospect for Atlanta Braves?


The Atlanta Braves acquired John Gant and Rob Whalen from the New York Mets for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe back in July of 2015.

The Atlanta Braves signed Kelly Johnson to a minor league deal at the beginning of the season, and they traded for Juan Uribe early in the 2015 season. However, after the Braves fell out of contention, they jumped ship on their chances for the 2015 season and began trading away pieces to continue the rebuilding process. The Braves decided to flip Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the New York Mets.

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When the Braves traded Johnson and Uribe to the Mets, this signaled that the Braves gave up on the 2015 season. The Braves shopped around for the best offer that presented itself for the pair; thus, the deal with the Mets transpired. The Braves traded Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe for Rob Whalen and John Gant, adding to the pitching prospect depth the Braves already amassed.

Rob Whalen seemed to be the better prospect out of the pair, ranking as the 20th best prospect in the Mets farm system; however, since the trade, John Gant performed exceptionally well for the Mississippi Braves. Outside of Gant’s 2011 and 2012 seasons, he looks to be a prospect waiting to bloom. In 2011, Gant posted a 6.48 ERA with a 5.22 FIP. The next season, Gant’s performances moderately improved as he finished the season with a 4.98 ERA and a FIP in the mid-fours.

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John Gant seemed to turn a corner in 2013 at the Low-A level, posting an impressive 2.89 ERA, 2.40 FIP, and 10.17 strikeout rate (K/9). In 2014, the Mets promoted Gant to Single-A Savannah, returning him to his hometown, where he impressed again. John Gant posted a career-high 11 wins, along with a 2.56 ERA and a 3.31 FIP; however, his strikeout rate fell from 10.17 in 2013 to 8.34 in 2014.

Following John Gant’s impressive 2014 season in Savannah, the Mets decided to promote him to High-A St. Lucie where he posted his best body of work to-date, albeit in six starts. With St. Lucie, Gant dominated the opposition, registering a sparkling 1.79 ERA and 2.89 FIP. The Mets quickly promoted him to Double-A Binghampton. At Binghampton, Gant struggled for the first time since the 2012 season, posting a disappointing 4.70 ERA with an average 3.62 FIP.

While the Mets were likely more reluctant to deal Rob Whalen, Gant looks to be the steal in the trade. After the Braves acquired Georgia-native John Gant, they assigned the towering 6′ 5” pitcher to Double-A Mississippi. In his first stint with the Braves’ organization, Gant regained the form he demonstrated in 2013 and 2014. John Gant registered a 4-0 record with a 1.99 ERA and 2.54 FIP with Mississippi; moreover, he increased his strikeout rate from 6.52 before the trade to 9.52 after the trade.

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John Gant finished the 2015 season, split between three leagues, with a 3.08 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and an 8.6 strikeout rate. Also, Gant’s FIP sat in the low-threes for the 2015 season, showing he can handle the competition at hand. With John Gant’s impressive end to the 2015 season, he likely vaulted himself into the Atlanta Braves’ top-20 prospect list. He’s a massive pitcher and Georgia-native, both traits the Braves love.

John Gant likely starts the 2016 season at Double-A Mississippi, but if he performs well out of the gate, the Braves may choose to promote him to the Triple-A level. The Braves expect Gant to be MLB-ready by the 2017 season, so by finishing at Triple-A at the end of next season, he is in line with that ETA. Gant looks to be a diamond in the rough, so look for him to continue to impress next season.

Next: Touki Toussaint: Atlanta Braves' Smartest Trade in 2015?

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