Today is the first day for hitters to report to spring training for the Atlanta Braves, with the first full-squad workouts being held tomorrow (the mandatory reporting date is the 22nd, but the way). With the hitters reporting we jump right into their half of the Making the Team Meter.
Much like the "Meter" for the pitchers, we're going to assume that a select group of hitters has already made the team, a pretty safe bet: Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Casey Kotchman, Kelly Johnson, Yunel Escobar, Jeff Francoeur, Greg Norton, David Ross, Matt Diaz, and Omar Infante are all assumed to have made the 25-man roster and will open up the season with the club. I'm also not going to list any of the five extra catchers in camp. No matter how many times we say it, J.C. Boscan is not making the team, neither are Phillip Britton, Alvin Colina, Matt Kennelly (though I'd like to see him in a game or two, and with McCann at the WBC we might get to), and Clint Sammons (who is on the 40-man, but barring an injury to McCann or Ross will not be making the trip north to Atlanta).
Here are the hitters. Enjoy.
|Josh Anderson, OF||I call him the favorite to win the center field job. He has speed and Bobby hit him lead-off 23 of his 40 starts last year. I say he's hungry to win the job.|
|Gregor Blanco, OF||Greg White doesn't do anything particularly well, but he's not a total waste either. A lot depends on whether or not Griffey signs, but Blanco will likely be relegated to backup outfielder status at best.|
|Brooks Conrad, INF||It will be interesting to see what kind of chances this "Dan Uggla-lite" player has this spring.|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||Casey Kotchman, meet your replacement in a few years, Freddie.|
|Diory Hernandez, INF||An injury to Infante or Prado could raise his stock considerably. He can help himself by showing his versatility in the field.|
|Jason Heyward, OF||Have you seen the steal we got with the 14th pick in the 2007 draft? Well, now you get a chance to.|
|Brandon Hicks, SS||This will be a nice audition for Hicks. We'll also get to see if the team works him out at third in addition to short.|
|Brandon Jones, LF||Poor Brandon is a self-admitted slow-starter. Last year he never really got it going all season. Can he make the Braves forget that they need a left-fielder? Meh.|
|Martin Prado, INF||He should be in the mix behind Infante for the second backup infielder spot.|
|Jordan Schafer, OF||We talked about him possibly making the team last year, but then Kotsay came over. With a really hot spring he could force his way onto the opening day roster... but I'd call it a longshot. A year of triple-A would really help his development.|
|= Chance of making the team is even.|
|= Chance of making the team is going down.|
|= Chance of making the team is going up.|
The next MTM will be next week after spring games begin.