Atlanta Braves Making The Team Meter 2013: Hitters, Week 4

US PRESSWIRE

As the final week of spring training approaches, there is a five-way tie for the final two bench spots.

The Atlanta Braves Making the Team Meter continues for week four with the hitters in Spring Training camp. Click here for last week's hitters MTM. Let's take a look at which positions on the team are up for grabs. First off, the following hitters already have a spot on the opening day roster:

Lineup: Andrelton Simmons, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman, B.J. Upton, Gerald Laird, and Dan Uggla

Bench: Juan Francisco, Chris Johnson, Reed Johnson, and Ramiro Pena

That leaves two spots available for the bench and back-up catcher. With a week of games left we still don't know what direction the Braves will go with these last two spots, and so all five of the remaining candidates still have a shot at winning a spot.

Player, Position Trend Last Week Roster Status Notes and Comments
Jose Constanza, OF Nav_down_yellow_medium Nav_down_yellow_medium 40-man Since finally joining the team in camp, after he was delayed with visa issues, Constanza has not hit well when he has played. Though it is only a handfull of at-bats, the Braves have given Schafer a start during that time, while only subbing Constanza. We all know how Georgie can get hot at the plate (he has to lick his bat to cool it down), so this could be a big race to the finish over the next week. Still, Schafer seems to be the preference at this point.
Evan Gattis, C/OF Nav_up_yellow_medium Nav_up_green_medium NRI He's been hitting a little less lately. I don't want to declare it an end of spring swoon yet, but he's not scalding the ball like he was the first two weeks of spring training. There's enough buzz out there about him making the team to think that it's going to happen, but at this point I would hedge my bets. Also entering into the calculus of him making the team is how poorly Laird has hit this spring. The Braves may want Gattis' bat in the lineup over Laird's for the first couple weeks of the season. Gattis has not had a walk yet this spring.
Matt Pagnozzi, C Nav_up_yellow_medium Nav_up_yellow_medium NRI Just as Gattis starts to cool, Pagnozzi has continued to hit, and has gotten a little more playing time. He's a known quantity, has Major League experience as a backup catcher, and provides great defense -- no frills and no fuss.
Tyler Pastornicky, IF Nav_down_yellow_medium Nav_down_red_medium 40-man Leading the team in walks, Rev has been possibly the best all-around offensive player on the team this spring. He offers speed, on-base ability, and some power; all he needs to do is prove to the team that he can handle multiple positions in the field. So far he's made two errors at shortstop and one error at second base. He's also played some outfield, and if he starts playing more outfield in the next few games we should assume that they're looking at him as a serious utility man. If he can handle the outfield, then that makes Schafer and/or Constanza unnecessary. His bat is making a spot for him on this team.
Jordan Schafer, OF Nav_up_yellow_medium Nav_up_green_medium 40-man, out of options Schafer has gotten a lot of playing time this spring -- the most of any non-regular. If you stack his spring numbers up against Pastornicky's he's not as good. He also doesn't give the team the versatility of playing the infield like Pastornicky does. If he was hitting like Pastornicky then he'd probably be a lock by now, but Schafer is hitting .140 points less. Being out of options gives him a longer leash, but it's looking less and less likely that he'll make the team. If he's hitting poorly enough by the end of spring, the Braves may think they can sneak him through waivers and stash him at AAA.

Arrow Key:
Nav_up_green_medium = Chance of making the team is good.
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.
Nav_down_red_medium = Chance of making the team is bad.
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