Feb 23, 2015; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher A.J.Pierzynski takes batting practice during spring training workouts at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
First Game Impressions
Jeff provided several details yesterday – and it’s still just one game so far – but little things mean a lot when the coaches have only a few things to go on when deciding who is going to make a team coming out of Spring. So here’s my take on what we saw yesterday:
- Jace Peterson. On base for all three plate appearances. Ringing double that beat the defensive positioning like a rented pitcher. Showed his speed, showed his versatility in playing shortstop. Worked the counts to his favor. If he repeats this a couple more times, then he becomes a lock to make the team.
- Eric Young, Jr. Showed he can handle center field, showed his speed, and showed patience at the plate in drawing a walk, stealing second, and manufacturing the first run.
- Cedric Hunter. A surprise starter in Left Field, you’d have to say “trending up” just for that reason alone. Made a great play on a fly ball up against the wall in an unfamiliar ballpark.
- Brady Feigl. Like Hunter, he’s “up” because he played. Allowed 2 hits, though one was weak. Got a strikeout and worked his way out of trouble – allowing no runs. We’ll see more of him.
- Michael Foltynewicz. Managed to get on this list despite not appearing in the game. Poor performances from Wandy and Wang, plus the report on Mike Minor means that he’s now in the catbird’s seat for making the rotation.
- Mauricio Cabrera. He’s long been a prospect to watch in the minors, but got to flash some of the reasons for that promise for the first time Wednesday. A fastball clocked over 100 mph highlighted his 1 inning stint. Control was a little elusive, though he walked nobody and struck out 1, yielding 1 hit and nothing else.
- Matt Capps. 2 hits allowed, 1 walk, 2 earned runs. Fastball in the 86 mph range. Not ready for prime time.
- Eury Perez. Surprising, though that could have been a 1-day hing, but he didn’t get into the game until late, and then didn’t do too much. But when you are buried on the scorecard, you’re often buried in the depth chart.
- Todd Cunningham. 1 at bat, 1 strikeout to go with a misplayed ball in center field. As I saw, little things are magnified at this time of the year, and he’s already behind EY Jr.
- Alberto Callaspo. Did not work count during his ABs. His competition – Chris Johnson, Philip Gosselin, and Jace Peterson all got hits yesterday. The Braves were already annoyed at his conditioning upon arrival to camp.
- Jose Peraza. As I had conjectured, the Braves will almost assuredly wait on Peraza and not break camp with him. That said, it was probably embarrassing to get picked off right after entering the game as a pinch runner.
- Wandy Rodriguez and Chien-Ming Wang. Any other day and I’d put both of these guys in the “Down” category. But since they both had troubles and since Mike Minor might very well end up on the DL to start the year (that’s my take – not nearly official), then neither of this pair really lost any ground… so far. Rodriguez was having control troubles. Wang…. 3 hits allowed and 3 strikeouts. Weird.
- Manny Banuelos and Cody Martin. However, others might now be given a chance to step up. The Braves’ preference would be for Banuelos to finish recovering from his health issues and gradually work him into a full season of innings for 2016. But if they need a starter, then either he or Martin could be called upon.
ON THE SHELF
- Mike Minor. Good thing (for him) that he won that arbitration case. Shoulder stiffness – again – isn’t a good trend going forward. This has to be worrisome for the team.
- Andrelton Simmons. No real worries here – so long as he really takes the proper extra time to insure that his oblique is fully healed before going out and doing his Superman thing again.