At Tomahawk Take, we’ve written extensively on Tommy La Stella, and for good reason. Many of us agree that the young prospect and 2nd baseman for the Double-A Mississippi Braves is primed and ready to make an appearance very soon with the big club, and we could see that happen sooner rather than later in 2014.
La Stella continues to improve offensively, and any knocks on his defensive abilities at 2nd base are minor. He is getting better all the time, and is already arguably as good as Dan Uggla. It’s no secret to Braves’ fans, although not all will agree, that the Braves have apparently become quite disenchanted with Dan. He struggled all season long for the Braves, and was excluded from the playoff roster because of that, and I think also because of his poor attitude. The Braves are likely shopping him during the current Winter Meetings, and while it’s probably unlikely they will find a buyer, the writing is more or less on the wall for Mr. Uggla.
I still feel like there’s a good chance we will see Dan Uggla starting at 2nd base for the Braves in 2014, but many of us have made the case that La Stella should be given a good look in the spring, and a good opportunity to skip Triple-A ball altogether and come on up to the big club in place of Dan. Only time will tell on that score.
To be fair, there is still some value in Dan Uggla, and if he starts in 2014, he certainly could turn things around. Even if his bat doesn’t come around, Dan’s walk rate and overall OBP have always been pretty high, and those stats are always of value to any club. Let’s not forget Uggla’s near 30 homer average as well! In short, I wouldn’t rule Dan out! That said, if La Stella continues to play with the same fire, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him start at 2nd base for the Atlanta Braves very soon in the 2014 season.
As David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweeted yesterday, La Stella has been chosen for the Arizona Fall League’s All-Prospect Team:
#Braves 2B Tommy La Stella selected to Ariz. Fall League All-Prospect team, hit 290/.436/.468, 8 XBH, 16 BB in 18g, 1 K per 19.7 ABs
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) December 9, 2013
Add to that his numbers this past regular season with the Mississippi Braves, where he hit on a line of .343/.422/.473/.896, and La Stella continues to prove he deserves a chance to be the regular 2nd baseman for the Atlanta Braves. With such value, and with such a current gaping hole at 2nd with the big club, it’s safe to say the La Stella will be around for some time to come. With all the rumors that the Braves could sell the farm to get a huge starter for the pitching rotation, it’s equally safe to say that if that should happen (which it won’t), La Stella’s probably off limits as trade fodder.