Braves land 2014 1st-rounder Jackson from Mariners

Atlanta deals two pitchers to Seattle for outfielder, player to be named

Braves land 2014 1st-rounder Jackson from Mariners

ATLANTA -- Alex Jackson was considered one of the best high school hitters available before the Mariners took him with the sixth overall selection in the 2014 Draft. The once highly touted prospect has not yet lived up to expectations, but the Braves are hoping he benefits from a change of scenery and a possible return to the catching position.

Dipping into the surplus of pitching they have compiled at the Minor League levels, the Braves announced Monday night they had acquired Jackson and a player to be named from the Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Rob Whalen and Max Povse.

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"We value upside and we believe Alex has a lot of it," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "We believe in the potential and the person. We are excited about his future in our organization."

Whalen's departure opens a 40-man roster spot that the Braves could fill with Sean Rodriguez, a versatile utility man who agreed to a two-year, $11.5 million deal with Atlanta last week. Rodriguez's deal is expected to be officially announced within the next few days.

Jackson ranked as the Mariners' sixth-best prospect per and he entered 2016 ranked as the game's 94th-best overall prospect. Povse (20th) and Whalen (22nd) had both been included on the Braves' Top 30 prospects list.

The Braves still see upside in the potential possessed by Jackson, who has hit .233 with a .327 on-base percentage and .399 slugging percentage while totaling 793 plate appearances through his first three professional seasons.

Jackson batted .243 with 11 home runs and a .740 OPS in 381 plate appearances for Class A Clinton this past season. While experiencing his first full pro season with two different Class A affiliates in 2015, the 20-year-old outfielder had hit .207 with eight home runs and a .683 OPS.

Though Jackson has been exclusively used as an outfielder during his professional career, there is a chance the Braves will try him as a catcher -- the position he played during his high school career.

Whalen underwent surgery on both knees approximately a month after being acquired by the Braves in the July 2015 trade that sent Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe to the Mets. The 22-year-old was not necessarily projected to advance beyond the Double-A level this year, but he was rushed to the Majors in August to fill a spot in Atlanta's depleted rotation. He completed at least five innings in four of the five starts he made before he was shut down because of fatigue.

Povse has stood as an intriguing prospect since the Braves took him in the third round of the 2014 Draft. The 6-foot-8 hurler's stock grew as he made steady progress over the past two years. He recorded 129 strikeouts and issued just 29 walks while producing a 3.36 ERA in 158 combined innings with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Mississippi this year.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.