Right-handed reliever Bubba Nelson and second baseman Juan Francia will provide farm depth. Francia is listed on Ottawa’s Triple-A roster, and Nelson could pitch from the pen in Ottawa or Reading.
Nelson, a former second-round pick of the Braves in 2000, holds a career 43-49 record and 3.67 ERA over seven minor league seasons. The 25-year-old righty was part of the Chris Reitsma deal of 2004, which landed him in the Cincinnati organization.
It was all downhill from there. He was arrested for DUI in February of 2005, struggled through a hip injury and was eventually released. He signed a minor league contract with San Diego before 2006 and went 5-7 with a 3.84 ERA for Double-A Mobile, becoming a free agent after the season.
At one point, he was considered a sleeper candidate for a spot in Atlanta’s rotation, but it never materialized. In an archived Baseball America chat from 2003, the Braves farm analyst called him "a stud." (If I had a nickel for every Atlanta "stud" prospect, rotting away in the minors somewhere ...)
Francia is a speed demon, and Scout.com calls him the classic slap hitter. In seven seasons, all with Detroit, the 25-year-old switch-hitter has a grand total eight homers and a career .333 SLG, but also an impressive 233 stolen bags. Other positives: He makes contact, has the potential to hit for average, doesn’t strike out and will be useful as speed or defense off the bench for any affiliate. He split time last season between Lakeland (High-A) and Erie (AA). Baseball Cube has him listed at 5-9, 145, which might make him the smallest player in the organization.