The La Stella Bandwagon is Getting Crowded’s Mark Bowman wrote about Tommy La Stella and his performance with Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League .. but there was more:  more like “hey, this kid could really turn into something.”  But there was an interesting line included:  “La Stella has been the most-hyped of the eight Braves prospects who have played for the Scottsdale Scorpions in this year’s AFL“.

I find myself bemused at reading this, for I’m trying to recall where that “hype” might have come from.  Oh yeah - from blogs like this one.

Uncredited video capture

An unidentified interviewer talks with Tommy in that linked article above, a video you can see at that site.  Meanwhile, he’s clearly been racing up the minor league ladder.  He’s 24 years old now – 25 in January – so he’s the right age to break into the majors right now.  At 5’11″ 185, he’s more-or-less average size for a middle infielder.  His offense is not an issue – he’s always batted around .300, OBP’d around .400, and walks more than he strikes out.  When hitting, he uses the whole field.  In my mind, that’s an ideal #2 hitter… and indeed, he’s been hitting 2 or 3 in the minors for a while.

La Stella has taken a hit from some about his defense, though I personally see him as fundamentally sound – a far cry from the ‘happy feet’ or ‘scrambling’ action that we have seen from Tyler Pastornicky and Dan UgglaJohn Sickels, in his review, called his glove “underrated”.  It’s also notable that both TomahawkTake and Sickels have La Stella firmly in our Top 10 among Braves’ prospects… that video above from Bowman shows him 14th.  No wonder they were late to this party.

La Stella is from Closter, New Jersey… just as far NE as you can get without being in New York City (Closter is a couple of miles from the Hudson River with Yonkers beyond).  His High School was practically on the state line in Montvale, NJ.  So how did the Braves spot him?  It was because he ended up at Coastal Carolina University (Conway, SC).  From there, he became the Braves’ 8th round pick in 2011.

So don’t sell him short – La Stella’s just not gonna take ‘No’ for an answer.  He could be a solid addition to a fairly undisciplined set of offensive approaches… and hopefully soon.

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Tags: Tommy La Stella

  • Chris Headrick

    He should be looked at very seriously in the the Spring, as I’ve said before, and I see absolutely NO reason at this point, if he shows then what he’s shown all this past season, to not be the Braves’ regular 2nd baseman in 2014. Uggla simply won’t do. I laugh at any argument about rushing him up, since as far as I can see his development appears relatively complete. I’ve watched him play several times, and this kid is not in any way over-hyped.

  • Lee Trocinski

    He’s a high-floor, low-ceiling player on a team full of the opposite. There is a chance he hits like Simmons, and Tommy can’t provide much defensive value. However, I project average hitting, which would make him a nice 2-WAR player, unless his defense is as bad as some say it is.

    • Chris Headrick

      I don’t think it is as bad as some say. He needs work defensively, but he’s as or more capable, in my opinion, as anyone else the Braves’ are currently using at that position. He moves well, but needs to pay a bit more attention with his glove work. I project slightly above average hitting, which will improve the more ABs he has.

    • carpengui

      He’ll certainly provide no worse than Uggla-level defense, and likely a little better, in my estimation.

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