Atlanta Braves Making The Team Meter 2012: Pitchers, Week 1

The original Making the Team Meter (MTM) returns for its seventh year as your 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 pitchers in camp 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:

Starters: Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, and Brandon Beachy (1 spot available, but with Hudson potentially not ready to start the season, as well as questions surrounding the health of Hanson and Jurrjens, there could be as many as 4 spots available, but more than likely there will be 2 spots available)
Relievers: Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Eric O'Flaherty, and WOW, those are the only 3 I'm going to say have safe spots in the pen (4 spots available)

With all these remaining spots in the rotation and the pen, this will be a really fun spring to watch as the battles for each spot on the roster unfold.

Player, Position Trend Last Week Roster Status Notes and Comments
Jairo Asencio, RHP
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N/A
40-Man, out of options
The pitcher formerly known as Luis Valdez is at a crossroads in his Braves career. He is out of options, and will need to make the 25-man roster out of spring training. He may be ready after a dominating performance this winter in the DWL & the Caribbean Series, holding opposing batters to a .172 average, & converting all 13 of his save opportunities.
Luis Avilan, LHP
Nav_down_red_medium
N/A
40-Man
Avilan spent last year in AA, & split his time between starting & relieving. He's not a name many Braves fans have heard, even the ones who follow prospects closely, as he's never really wowed with the stats at any level. But he's got a great power arm, & if the Braves didn't protect him on the 40-man, he may have been a Rule 5 pick.
Jaye Chapman, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
Drafted in the 16th round way back in 2005, Chapman has slowly worked his way through the Atlanta system, & finally had a breakout year last year in Gwinnett. He'll get a look at a bullpen spot, but others are ahead of him.
Erik Cordier, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
The perennially injured Cordier was slated for AFL duty last fall, but because of injury he only made it into two games. That will always be the question with Cords, "can he stay healthy." If he can, his power arm could play well in middle relief.
Randall Delgado, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
Randall is one of those guys who generates a lot of debate, both among scouts and stat-heads. He's very Jair Jurrjens like, with less control and more velocity. He'll compete and push Teheran, but he will likely start the year in Gwinnett, where he could use more refinement.
Yohan Flande, LHP
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N/A
NRI

Nothing more than depth at triple-A, either in the bullpen or rotation, though valuable as a swing-man.
Robert Fish, LHP
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N/A
40-Man
The Braves Rule 5 draft pick, their first one in decades, is also a two-time Rule 5 selection, having been drafted last year, so he should know what it takes to make a club out of spring training. He's got a live arm, but control has always been his problem. If he is anywhere close to decent, I wonder if the Braves will opt to keep him; should be an interesting story to watch this spring.
Cory Gearrin, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
The non-Aussi side-armer, Cory will get every chance to make the club, but there is a lot of competition for the last few bullpen spots. He doesn't have much left to prove in the minors, but he does need to work on limiting walks in the Majors. With options left he could end up in Gwinnett.
Sean Gilmartin, LHP
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N/A
NRI

Last year's first round pick by Atlanta out of FSU, Gilmartin will get a taste of the big leagues this spring before likely being among those in the first round of cuts. No real chance to make the club, but this is his chance to impress the Atlanta coaching staff.
J.J. Hoover, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
Hoover is a guy who should have been called up last year for bullpen help. He was lights out after moving to that role late in the year, as his power stuff plays up in short stints. He can also be a workhorse of a starter, so it will be interesting to see if the club keeps him in relief or moves him back to the rotation. He wasn't quite that sharp in the AFL, so the Braves could want him to get more refinement at Gwinnett this year.
Dusty Hughes, LHP
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N/A
NRI

Lower down on the lefty depth chart, but with plenty of Major League experience, he is an interesting NRI. He's light on size and velocity, but uses his off-speed pitches very well. I wonder if he's a guy who will benefit from being around EOF and Venters. He apparently has a promising slider.
Cristhian Martinez, RHP
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N/A
40-Man, out of options
The lisp is out of options, so he needs to make the team or risk being waived. As a guy who can go long in relief, he should be a good bet to make the club as a swing-man. His teammates really like him, and he showed a lot of growth last year throughout the season. He put in some good relief work in the DWL this winter.
Kris Medlen, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
Kris is not on here necessarily because there is a question about whether or not he will make the team -- he will make the team. He's on here so we can track where he'll make the team. Will he be in the bullpen or will they let him compete for a rotation spot?
Mike Minor, LHP
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N/A
40-Man
The odds-on favorite to win the fifth starter's job out of spring training, of course, he was the favorite last year to win the fifth starter's job out of spring training. Another year of maturity and experience under his belt, he should give the Braves a much needed lefty starter.
Peter Moylan, RHP
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N/A
NRI
The Awesome Aussi is back with the team, but on a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. He's coming off a 2011 marred by back and shoulder surgery. The Braves want to make sure he's healthy before giving him a roster spot, but Petah claims he'll be ready to go when the bell rings. Spring will tell...
Todd Redmond, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
The off-again, on-again 40th man on the 40-man is on again. He has shown the last two years at Gwinnett that he can be a workhorse starter. While not really in the mix for Atlanta, he represents good depth in the system at starting pitcher. He didn't get much of a chance last year in spring training, so we'll see if he gets more of a chance this year.
Jason Rice, RHP
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N/A
NRI

This is the NRI pitcher I'm most excited about. A converted catcher, Rice was traded, waived, waived, and DFA'ed last year, but he should be ready to contribute in a Major League pen. He's a short guy with a good fastball when he can command it. He had a good winter this year, playing in the Mexican league, and should get a long look for the bullpen.
Adam Russell, RHP
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N/A
NRI

A tall hard-throwing reliever with several years of Major League experience. He's got a good shot at making the club because of his experience, though he needs to control his walks.
Zeke Spruill, RHP
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N/A
NRI

He's in that second tier of Braves starting pitching prospects behind Delgado & Gilmartin. He's in camp to get a taste of the Majors and soak up some knowledge from the vets, and not really in the mix for a 25-man roster spot.
Julio Teheran, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
He will be one of the most watched arms this spring. With Tim Hudson potentially starting the year on the disabled list, Teheran is the favorite to fill in for a few starts early in the year. He may also push Minor in the competition for the fifth starter's spot.
Anthony Varvaro, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
A hard-throwing middle reliever, Varvaro showed some great stuff in his short stint in Atlanta last year. He was arguably the most effective reliever the Braves recalled from Gwinnett during the season. He's got a good chance of making the team, and should get a long look this spring.
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
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N/A
40-Man
The jury is still split on what the Braves will ultimately do with Vizzy. They could send him back to the minors and put him into the Gwinnett rotation, & he would likely end up being a top-of-the-rotation starter, but their more immediate need is for someone to pick up the innings when O'Ventbrel can't pitch, and as 'Rody showed last year he is capable of being a dominant shut-down reliever. He may still be a bit green, but if the Braves keep him in the pen, he could be a very valuable asset in relief... or he could eventually be a top-of-the-rotation starter...
Arrow Key:
Nav_up_green_medium = Chance of making the team is good.
Nav_down_red_medium = Chance of making the team is bad.
Nav_up_yellow_medium = Chance of making the team is slightly better than 50-50.
Nav_down_yellow_medium = Chance of making the team is slightly worse than 50-50.

The hitters report to spring training this Friday, their MTM will be posted then. Next pitchers MTM likely early next week.

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