LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Travis Demeritte did not know what to think when one of his Class A Advanced High Desert coaches informed him he was not allowed to take early batting practice before a July 27 game. The Trade Deadline was a few days away, but as he sat idly in the clubhouse, he didn't anticipate what he was about to hear.
A few days earlier, one of his teammates had been victimized by a clubhouse prank involving Chris Sale trade rumors. So, when Demeritte was informed that the Rangers had traded him to the Braves in exchange for Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez, he was initially skeptical.
"I was like, all right, all right, you just pulled this one a couple days ago, so I'm not falling for it," Demeritte said. "But this one was actually true."
If Demeritte lives up to his potential, a few years from now it might be even harder to believe that the Braves were able to acquire him from the pitching-needy Rangers in exchange for Harrell and Alvarez, a pair of hurlers who were picked up by Atlanta off the scrap heap last year.
MLBPipeline ranks Demeritte as the ninth-best prospect in Atlanta's talent-rich system. The young infielder totaled 28 homers over 455 at-bats last year, and then preserved his stock value as he produced a .855 OPS over 22 games in the Arizona Fall League.
There is certainly reason to be concerned about the strikeout rate (175 strikeouts and 67 walks in 530 plate appearances) Demeritte produced at the Class A level last year. But the Braves were certainly wise to take advantage of the chance to pay next to nothing in order to acquire a versatile infielder with this kind of power potential.
As Demeritte currently experiences his first big league Spring Training, he's certainly looking forward to the chance he's been given with the Braves, a team he closely followed while growing up approximately an hour northwest of Atlanta in Winder, Ga.
"The only real expectation for me is to work hard and get better every day," Demeritte said. "I'm not a big expectation person because I feel that's just extra pressure you're putting on yourself for no reason. It's good to have your own personal goals, but I don't expect too much from myself, just for the simple fact I don't want to put too much pressure on myself."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.