HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Astros have spent years trading veterans for prospects.

On Wednesday, they flipped the script, acquiring catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis from the Atlanta Braves for three of the Astros’ prospects.

Gattis hit.263/.317/.493 in 401 plate appearances last season for the Braves. His power numbers make him attractive, as he hit 22 home runs and had 52 RBI in only 108 games. In 105 games in his rookie year of 2013, Gattis hit 21 home runs with 65 RBI. The hitter-friendly dimensions of Minute Maid Park could provide a boost to Gattis’ numbers. With the Astros’ catching situation currently still more than well stocked, Gattis’ place in the lineup could be in left field or as a designated hitter.

The three minor leaguers headed to Atlanta are right-handed pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, third baseman Rio Ruiz, and right-handed pitcher Andrew Thurman, who was the Astros’ second-round pick in 2013. Foltynewicz and Ruiz were listed by mlb.com as two of Houston’s top 10 prospects and now instantly become two of the top ten Braves’ prospects.

With Ruiz among those traded, 2013 first-round pick Colin Moran, acquired in last year’s Jarred Cosart trade, takes center stage as the Astros’ third baseman of the future. Foltynewicz was known for his ability to hit triple digits on the radar gun. The Astros had been preparing him as a starting pitcher in the minors, but his contribution last season in the big leagues was from the bullpen. In 16 games and 18.2 innings with the Astros, Foltynewicz had a 5.30 ERA and struck out 14.

The Astros also picked up right-handed pitcher James Hoyt in the deal. The 28-year-old split last season between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. Hoyt was an All-Star at Double-A with a 1.14 ERA in 28 relief appearances before encountering more difficulty at Triple-A, where he finished with a 5.46 ERA in 24 relief appearances. He has been invited to Astros spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Garret Heinrich contributed to this report.

 

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