Newcomb embraces opportunity with Braves

Left-handed pitching prospect was acquired in trade that sent Simmons to Angels

Newcomb embraces opportunity with Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Sean Newcomb traveled to Mexico in the middle of November, he certainly did not anticipate that his vacation would include a life-altering event. Thus, he certainly wasn't expecting the surprise he received once a wireless network enabled him to retrieve a multitude of text messages.

After acquiring Newcomb as the centerpiece of the trade that sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels, the Braves were not initially able to reach him because he was in an area where he did not have any cell service. But once the heralded left-handed pitching prospect returned to his hotel room and had cell service, he began to digest the opportunity he now has to highlight Atlanta's impressive crop of young arms.

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"Once I got back on Wi-Fi, I got some text messages from some different people and I was able to talk to [Braves general manager] John Coppolella on the phone over Wi-Fi," Newcomb said. "At first it was a shock, but once I learned what was going on over here, I was definitely excited to be a part of it. It's definitely exciting to be part of a rebuild and be part of the future with a bunch of young prospects." ranks Newcomb as baseball's No. 21 overall prospect, the fourth-best left-handed pitching prospect and the second-best prospect in the Braves' system, sitting only behind shortstop Dansby Swanson.

So it certainly wasn't surprising to see many of the Braves' top officials take notice when Newcomb completed his first Spring Training mound session on Sunday morning at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

"It's good to be up here right away getting to know the organization and the new guys you'll be playing with," Newcomb said. "It's definitely an adjustment coming from a different organization and having to meet new people. But it's been good so far."

Newcomb was selected by the Angels in the first round (15th overall) of the 2014 Draft. The 22-year-old southpaw began last season at the Class A level and ended it by posting a 2.75 ERA over seven starts for Double-A Arkansas. He recorded 168 strikeouts, but also issued 76 walks over 136 innings last year.

Inconsistent command remains the one knock against Newcomb, who will likely begin this season with Double-A Mississippi. If he begins to throw strikes on a more consistent basis, he could certainly fulfill the Braves' wish that he earn a spot in their rotation by the end of this season.

"I've just got to keep doing what I've been doing and make sure I lock down and throw a lot of strikes," Newcomb said. "I've just got to pitch well over the course of the entire season."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.