Pencil in Tyler Pastornicky, cross out Drew Sutton, speculate on some more trades

Despite Albert Pujols signing with another team, and now an iffy drug test with Ryan Braun I am pretty excited. Why? Because my boy, Tyler Pastornicky is looking to be the starting shortstop for the Bravos on Opening Day. I will openly admit that I have a bias for TP. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because I have a bias for speedier players, or that I have more respect for shortstops, or the fact that Pasto is the player that got me really interested in prospects and writing about prospects.

It is most likely a combination of all of these things plus the fact that he has a sweet last name and I like to say Pasto. Kinda sounds like some Italian meal. Regardless of why I like the kid I want to share with you the archives of the many writings I have on Tyler Pastornicky. I will give you the first one in its entirety and link the rest.

Tyler Pastornicky, why we shouldn’t pick up Punto, and Reds/Stubbs/Jurrjens talk after the break. Be warned this post is lengthy.

Tyler Pastornicky: Future Shortstop of the Atlanta Braves?

When people think about the prospects in the Braves organization Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado, Mike Minor, and Brandon Beachy are all names that will come up fairly quickly. Granted, the Braves pitching prospects are good, but there is another name lurking in Gwinnett that people might want to start paying attention to. That name is Tyler Pastornicky, quite possibly the future shortstop of the Atlanta Braves.

Throughout this year Alex Gonzalez, the current Atlanta shortstop has put together a line of .232/.262/.335. Just let that sink in for you a bit. a .262 on base percentage. That is horrible. The only reason he is still the everyday guy is because of his defense (which has also started to slip lately) and the fact that there are no other shortstops in the organization right now who could play everyday.

That could easily change next year though. Tyler Pastornicky started out the season in Mississippi the Braves double A team. In 90 games he hit .299/.345/.414 with 6 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Scouts had always labeled him as a slightly above average defensive shortstop, with plus speed, and could hit for a high average but not much more. In Mississippi, Pastornicky lived up to that label and played well enough to get promoted to triple A Gwinnett just after the All-Star break.

Normally, when players go from double A to triple A they struggle at first. This has not been the case for Pastornicky so far, he has actually been hitting a lot better in his 14 games with the Gwinnett team. In his first 14 games he has hit .403/.431/.419. Before you go crazy and think that Pastornicky is some type of hitting god remember that it’s just 14 games and his BABIP in those games is .446. The numbers are definitely going to go down, but no matter how much the ‘luck’ factor has to do with the numbers, it still shows that Pastornicky could be a big league hitter.

The MLB average shortstop has a .263/.317/.378 slash line and a NL shortstop has a slightly worse .259/.313/.367 line. Throughout the minors Pastornicky is a .287/.346/.366 hitter. Even if he regresses a bit when he gets the call to the majors he will be an above average hitting shortstop.

This line does show Pastornicky’s one true downfall though; his power. The highest slugging percentage he has put up is .414 (I’m excluding the .419 so far in triple A for obvious reasons) which is good news and bad news. .414 as your career high slugging percentage is by no means good, but it is something that throughout the minors his slugging percentage has gradually increased. Most players develop their power in their mid twenties and Pastornicky is still only 21. So we still have a few years to see if he can raise the slugging percentage and hit a few more long balls.

Even if he doesn’t increase the power numbers the Braves could easily have one of the better all-around shortstops to start out the 2012 season. He is above average defensively for the most challenging defensive position, he has plus speed and is a legitimate base stealing threat, and if he can hit like he has in the minors he will even be an above average hitter (for his position). Throw in the fact that he still could develop the power and it’s a wonder that Braves fans haven’t really given him a second look. Besides Julio Teheran (who will more than likely be in the big league rotation next year) Pastornicky could easily have a bigger impact on the Atlanta team than any of the ‘golden arms of Gwinnett’. So you might want to give Tyler Pastornicky a bit more than a quick glance.

That was my first post on Pasto, prospects, and my first writing on a site that wasn’t my own personal blog (it was on MLB’s Out of the Zone) so it was a surplus of milestones for me.

I decided it would just be better to link you to the actual archives on my old blog. You can read them if you are a TP fanatic or you just want to see why I am such a big TP fanatic. Either way the only thing you need to do is click this link right…….. here.

Nick Punto

Well it looks like the Braves don’t have as optimistic an outlook for Drew Sutton as me and Fred had thought because Nick Punto seems to be extremely high on their list for a utility man. That implies that Frank Wren doesn’t have his utility man yet if you didn’t know.

If you just look at Punto’s 2011 season you would think he was a starter and a quality one at that. A .278/.388/.421 slash line isn’t exactly shabby and he can play all over the place but…

Punto had the St. Louis Cardinals disease last year which means you suffered through awesome offensive production. Punto’s career line is a much less impressive .249/.325/.327 (.327 slugging percentage!) which is much more relevant than the 63 good games he had last year. Punto’s BB% was 5% higher than his career mark, his K% was 4% lower than his career mark, and his BABIP was .021 points higher than his career number.

Most free agents get overpaid, that’s just a fact of baseball. But Punto could very well be the worst of all of them. Since 2003 he has hit 14 home runs. He stole 1 base in 2011 and 6 in 2010. He is not a .270/.380/.420 hitter. Not by a long shot. That doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be a quality utility man, but you can bet him and his agent will be pushing that 2011 slash and squeezing every buck they can out of it. If that is the case (it probably is) I hope Frank Wren doesn’t go anywhere near him. I’ll take my chances with Ben Zobrist Beta.

Cincinnati Reds and Drew Stubbs

Earlier I this week I mentioned the Reds’ interest in JJ and although their interest isn’t as high as I stated in that post they are still interested. Over at Capitol Avenue Club Ben Duronio, and Kevin Orris have differing opinions on possibly trading JJ to the Reds for Stubbs.

I am undecided on this situation to be honest. Stubbs does have horrible plate discipline (30.1% K rate last year) and bad contact but the scouts are really high on him, he is young, and has a lot of potential. I don’t think it would be smart to trade our biggest trade chip for a make or break player and a AAAA outfielder so I would have to lean more towards Kevin I suppose. But Stubbs could make me regret that next year depending on how he develops. Personally I would rather go for a safer bet, say… Nick Swisher?


That’s all for today guys, sorry about the length (unless you like longer posts, I love writing them but struggle to consistently. Let me know if you like these longer Posnanski type articles) but it is 1:28 in the morning and I am tired. Goodnight/good morning/good afternoon.

If you enjoy my writing/opinions, or hate them and simply want to harass me for them feel free to follow me on Twitter @bravesbanter

Tags: Atlanta Braves Cincinnati Reds Drew Stubbs Free Agents Jair Jurrjens MLB Trade Rumors Nick Punto Prospects Tyler Pastornicky

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