The Braves quietly moved Tyler Pastornicky from Mississippi to Gwinnett yesterday. Pastornicky was ripping AA apart hitting .299/.345/.414 with 6 homers and 36 RBI and 20 steals in 28 attempts so he was definitely ready.
His spring was good enough to keep him until the last day of camp before sending him out to the M-Braves where he played 38 games after coming over from Toronto in the Yunel Escobar trade. When that trade was made Baseball America wrote that
He’s an above-average runner with 108 stolen bases and 78 percent success rate in 251 career games. At shortstop, he has good instincts, plus range and an average arm. Pastornicky’s line-drive stroke makes him a potential .275 hitter . . . In a best case example, he projects as a top-of-the-order hitter who provides sound defense.
John Sickles over at MinorLeagueBall.com said in June that Pastornicky is a:
“. . .fundamentally sound and a “baseball rat” type who hustles, is adept at “little ball” (he’s a great bunter), and plays above his tools. . .He makes contact and his strikeout rate is low, which is often a marker for players who can exceed expectations. . . .draws good reviews from scouts for his defense, including his range. Interestingly, his range factors at shortstop are consistently below average the last two years.”
The range factor is a subjective stat particularly in the minors, time will tell whether he can learn to position himself well enough to overcome it. The only know on Patornicky is that he’s error prone. he’s had 20 already this year and will need to overcome that if he’s to play short regularly in the majors.
This move brings him within sniffing distance of the big club and should an injury occur he might get his chances. A top of the order bat who knows how to bunt would be useful. Heck either by itself is dang useful this year. This also indicates they like his chances in 2012 and want a good look before the season ends and they have to decide whether to offer Alex Gonzales a contract.
The Braves have two other ‘name’ shortstop prospects out there – Matt Lipka and Andrelton Simmons – and Edward Salcedo who started as a shortstop but now projects more as a third baseman, but Pastornicky is well ahead of all of them.
I like the reports of Pastornicky ‘s work at the plate but the errors are a worry. I’m still a fan of going to get Jason Bartlett for the rest of this year and next. Alex Gonzalez fielding is superb but his hitting is too inconsistent and problematic for my taste. Sadly I doubt that move will be made and we’ll be stuck with him the rest of the year. Next year perhaps this move means that will change.