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Braves net Newcomb, Ellis from Angels

Simmons, Briceno heading West, Aybar and cash also will go East
November 12, 2015

The Braves acquired the top two prospects in the Angels organization Thursday, sending shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catching prospect Jose Briceno to Los Angeles in exchange for Erick Aybar, left-hander Sean Newcomb, right-hander Chris Ellis and cash.

Atlanta announced the trade Thursday evening and reported the cash considerations amount to $2.5 million.

"We weren't sure we could get these sorts of players," Braves general manager John Coppolella told "This was such a good opportunity for us that we wanted to really kind of seize it once it was made available."

Newcomb, 22, and Ellis, 23, were the ranking No. 1 and 2 prospects in the Los Angeles system, with the southpaw is considered the No. 19 prospect in the game.

"It's a very tough trade and a painful trade for us. We didn't want to trade Andrelton Simmons," the Atlanta GM told "But we felt this was too good for us to pass up. We felt like we were getting so much talent back in this deal, that if we didn't make this trade, it would be very tough for us to keep going forward with our plans."

The 15th overall pick of the 2014 Draft, Newcomb now stands atop the Braves system. He went 9-3 with a 2.83 ERA in his first full professional season. He made seven starts in the Class A Midwest League, 13 in the Class A Advanced California League and seven in the Double-A Texas League. He allowed more than five hits in only one of those 27 starts. The Brockton, Massachusetts native and University of Hartford product struck out 168 (tied for second in the Minors) over 136 innings and held opponents to a .199 average. His dominant season made him an Angels Organization All-Star.

Newcomb has touched 98 mph with his fastball, but regularly works in the low- to mid-90s. He counters that with two solid offspeed pitches -- a curveball that improved throughout the regular season and a changeup that rates a 50 on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Ellis, picked out of the University of Mississippi in the third round of the '14 Draft, went 11-9 with a 3.90 ERA over 11 starts in the Cal League and 15 starts in the Texas League this season. He features a fastball he can sink, cut or run in on right-handed hitters, typically throwing it in the low-90s. He also sports a 55-grade changeup and a strong curve that hasn't been consistent to date. He's now No. 9 in the Atlanta organization.

The Braves also have a young but highly regarded shortstop prospect in Ozahaino Albies, who ranks 30th overall and is now No. 2 in the organization. The 18-year-old native of Curacao batted .310 with 21 doubles and 29 stolen bases over 98 games for Class A Rome this year, and he has a 60-grade arm. reported he might end up in the big leagues at some point in the next two seasons, while there is one year remaining on Aybar's contract.

"[Albies is] a really good player," Coppolella told "We feel he's going to be a really good Major League player. We'll let him tell us when he's ready and not set any kind of time frame to it."

Aybar, 31, played for the Angels for 10 seasons, putting together a .276 career average and scoring 572 runs. He was a Gold Glove winner in 2011 and an American League All-Star in 2014.

Briceno, a power bat with a strong arm behind the plate, was ranked No. 25 in the Braves organization and is No. 30 among Angels prospects. At age 23, he has six years of pro experience under his belt. Colorado signed him as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela in 2009 and traded him to Atlanta for righties David Hale and Gus Schlosser on Jan. 30. He struggled offensively in the Class A Advanced Carolina League this season, batting .183 with 18 extra-base hits.

Simmons, 26, repeated as the National League's Gold Glove shortstop in 2013 and '14, and he was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday. He's slashed .256/.304/.362 over parts of four big league seasons and is under team control through 2020.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to