After spending the requisite ten days in the Minor League after being demoted from his brief one-day stint in the Majors, Phil Gosselin has once again been called up to join the Major League club.
Gosselin was originally recalled on the Sunday before the All-Star Break against the Cubs due to Dan Uggla's then-mysterious one-game suspension due to a "violation of team rules." He was then promptly sent back down to AAA Gwinnett after Uggla's suspension was over.
The Braves' handling of the situation was so odd because Uggla, now a member of the San Francisco Giants, was then released before the Braves' game against Philadelphia on the Friday following the All-Star Game, putting the Braves in a predicament. They couldn't recall Gosselin again because of the mandatory ten-day rule which requires players to stay in the Minor Leagues for that length of time before getting called up again (unless there's a DL move), so they were forced to bring up Tyler Pastornicky instead.
Pastornicky, whose 2014 has been a struggle with a .200/.304/.250 slash line and a 62 wRC, combined with below-average defense, was sent back down to Gwinnett in favor of the hot-hitting Gosselin again last night. The Braves completed the roster move this afternoon and made it official that Gosselin is heading back to join the Major League team.
<center><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>INF Phil Gosselin (#15) has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and INF Tyler Pastornicky has been optioned to Gwinnett.</p>— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) <a href="https://twitter.com/Braves/statuses/493103827537887232">July 26, 2014</a></blockquote>
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The whole situation, it seems, was handled poorly and without foresight. Perhaps the Braves weren't certain that they would cut ties with Uggla so soon when he was suspended, but the team was put in a bind and forced to recall a player for their bench for a week who wasn't the team's top choice. All in all, it probably isn't a huge deal, but the whole situation seems to have been handled sub-optimally.
In terms of the impact of Gosselin on Atlanta's bench, he brings excellent positional versatility and a bat that has been scorching-hot this season in triple-A. The 25-year-old Virginia product has spent significant time at second base, shortstop, and third base this season, and has even logged eight games in left field and one game at first base. Gosselin fits the mold of a utility player who can handle any of the infield positions in a pinch, and even a corner outfield spot.
Gosselin, who was anointed as the eighteenth-best prospect in Atlanta's system in our midseason rankings of the Braves' top prospects, has received attention for his strong performance with the bat this season, as he's currently slashing .344/.379/.487, good for a 139 wRC+, for Gwinnett. Of course, it's worth noting that his performance is aided by an anomalously-high .401 BABIP, he doesn't walk much, and that his offensive performances in the Minors in 2012 and 2013 were below-average, but he seems to have made at least some tangible strides this season, especially in the power department.
Projection systems such as Steamer and ZiPS viewed Gosselin as a significantly below-average offensive player in the Majors in their pre-season projections, and it's still fairly likely that his bat won't be much of an asset for Atlanta's bench. However, his positional versatility alone makes him a better fit for the bench than Uggla and Pastornicky were. Any production that he could give the team offensively would just be a nice bonus.