LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Braves traded for hard-throwing prospect Billy Bullock from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for left-hander Scott Diamond, whom the Twins had taken from the Braves in the December Rule 5 draft.
Because the Twins decided not to keep Diamond on their 25-man roster, they had to offer him back to the Braves for half of the original $50,000 claiming price, or work out a deal.
The teams swapped prospects and the Braves got Bullock, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound right-hander who had 27 saves and a 105 strikeouts in 74 innings last season with the Twins’ Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain affiliates.
Bullock, 23, features a slider and a fastball in the mid-90 mph range. He went 2-8 with a 3.53 ERA in 58 relief appearances, and allowed 73 hits and 43 walks. He ranked 11th in the minor leagues in saves and fourth in strikeouts among pitchers who worked solely in relief.
A second-round pick out of the University of Florida in 2009, Bullock has recorded 150 strikeouts and 38 saves in 107-2/3 innings over two minor league seasons. He will likely begin the season at Double-A Misssissippi, though the Braves will wait to make that decision after watching him throw in minor league camp.
Diamond, 24, was 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 27 starts last season for Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, and 28-20 with a 3.28 ERA in three seasons in the Braves’ minor league system.
The Braves opted to add other pitchers and players to their 40-man protected roster before the Rule 5 draft in December. By working out a trade with the Braves, the Twins can send Diamond to the minors rather than being forced to keep him on their 25-man roster.