Atlanta Braves Making The Team Meter 2011: Hitters, Week 1

The original Making the Team Meter (MTM) returns for its sixth year as the one-stop shop for finding out which Atlanta Braves players will break camp with the team, and which ones are headed back to the minors. Throughout spring training I'll track the progress of each player who does not yet have a guaranteed spot on the opening day roster.

This year, like last year, the MTM will be initially broken down into two parts -- one for pitchers and one for hitters. Today's installment will cover all the hitters in camp and who might have a chance at making the team. To begin with we'll assume that there is a group that has already made the team, a pretty safe assumption with these guys:

Starters:  Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Alex Gonzalez, Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, Nate McLouth, and Jason Heyward (1 spot available, first base)
Reserves:  Eric Hinske and David Ross (3 spots available)

The second assumption we'll make is that the five additional catchers in camp will not be making the team, nor do they have a chance to make the team unless McCann or Ross get injured. So we won't list them on the MTM.

Yes, I am listing Brooksy. That could be debatable, but a bad spring defensively coupled with struggles at the plate while some of these other guys are doing good on both sides of the ball, and Conrad could get cut. We'll keep an eye on it. And since Freeman said he's out to win a spot, we'll make him win one on the MTM as well.

Player, Position This Week's Trend Last Week Notes and Comments
Brooks Conrad, IF
N/A
Like I said above, he should make the team as a reserve infielder (shudder) and pinch hitter.
Freddie Freeman, 1B
N/A
I will be rooting for him to succeed. There's a lot of pressure on this kid.
Diory Hernandez, IF
N/A
Hard to believe that Diory has 94 big league at-bats. Very few of them were successful at-bats. Still, he's the favorite at this point to win the backup shortstop gig.
Brandon Hicks
N/A
A good spring could see him push Diory for the backup shortstop job. I'd like to see that power he showed a couple of years ago return.
Joe Mather, IF/OF
N/A
Mather and his Werthian build is the favorite at this point for the backup outfield job.
Jordan Schafer, OF
N/A
Keep an eye on the strikeouts. Even with a good spring I think the Braves will give him time to play everyday in the minors for a while.
Matt Young, OF
N/A
A lot of people on this blog will be rooting for Matt. It would be fantastic to see him make the club. At some point this spring he'll have a breakout game and all the beat writers will suddenly know his name and we'll have a day of stories on him.
Shawn Bowman, IF
N/A
Bowman is a 26 year old minor league slugger who hit 22 home runs for the Blue Jays double-A team last year. He is apparently a plus defender, though his bat still need some work. He was originally in the Mets organization. Ticketed for triple-A.
Mycal Jones, IF/OF
N/A
We'll have to watch where the Braves play him this spring -- the infield or the outfield. When I talked to him at rookie camp he was slated for the outfield, but that could change. He will gain valuable experience this spring and be ready to compete for a job next year.
Ed Lucas, IF
N/A
Hit .307/.398/.480 for the Royals triple-A team last year. Though he'll be 29 this year he's a solid defender who can play any infield or outfield position, has a little pop, and good plate discipline. He has the best chance of making the team of any non-roster invitee hitter.
Tyler Pastornicky, SS
N/A
This young shortstop is very highly thought of by the Braves organization, and while he likely won't make the club out of the gate, this is his audition for a late season call-up. He is likely the successor to Alex Gonzalez at shortstop.
Brent Clevlen, OF
N/A
We hardly knew ye last year. Believe it or not, he gets some strong early consideration for backup outfielder.
Jose Constanza, OF
N/A
He's a speedy center fielder who was formerly with the Cleveland organization. He hit .319/.373/.394 last year and all of his value is tied up in his stolen base ability -- 34 for 40 last year and an 81% success rate for his career.
Wilkin Ramirez, OF
N/A
Once a pretty decent prospect for the Tigers, he has problems hitting off-speed pitches. He represents a good power prospect for a pinch hitter, but will likely wind up at Gwinnett.
Wilkin Castillo, C/IF/OF
N/A
He has seen time with the Reds in the Majors the last two years, can play the infield, outfield, and catcher. Though he plays second and third like a catcher would, he does represent some flexibility for the team. Unfortunately his bat does not have much in it.
Arrow Key:
= Chance of making the team is waffling or 50-50.
= Chance of making the team is trending down.
= Chance of making the team is trending up.
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