The 2014 Spring Training season is underway as pitchers and catchers reported only a few days ago. The Wild World of Sports is the destination for the Braves in Orlando, Florida.
Early on in the 2014 season, we’ve seen first basemen Freddie Freeman sign an eight year deal, Jason Heyward sign a two year deal and just yesterday the Braves locked up their young starting pitcher Julio Teheran to a six year deal.
Spring Training is where it all begins and where the front office gets a good look at their stars as well as their up-and-comers. ST is usually a great way to see just how your favorite team looks heading into the season BUT the stats sometimes don’t add up to how the regular season will go – see 2013 B.J. Upton ST stats.
Below are my five bold thoughts to look for coming out of Spring Training
5. Gavin Floyd will pitch during Spring Training and pitch well. Fredi Gonzalez will decide to slot Floyd in the starting rotation heading into the regular season and make his first start April 5th against the Washington Nationals.
4. The 6’4″ 210 lb left handed pitcher, Ian Thomas will impress the Braves organization and fans. The 26-year-old from the Virginia Commonwealth University pitched in Double A Mississippi last season and is a 2014 non roster invitee. He won’t make the roster but will make an impact to move to Gwinnett in 2014.
3. Tommy La Stella shows the Braves Nation that you should remember his name for the future. He makes a great combination with our young shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, turning double plays throughout the month of March. Tommy comes up short of making the roster out of Spring Training but heads to Gwinnett looking for the opportunity if Dan Uglla and Tyler Pastornicky slips.
2. Jordan Schafer will play extremely well this spring and actually beat out B.J. for the center field position. On March 31st he will be the Braves center fielder and be slated in the leadoff spot in the lineup. This will have a trickle affect in the lineup and make the Braves 1-8 dangerous. Fredi loves the left-right-left-right lineup and will do this to start the season. The new lineup looks like this…
1. Jordan Schafer
2. Andrelton Simmons
3. Jason Heyward
4. Justin Upton
5. Freddie Freeman
6. Evan Gattis
8. Dan Uggla
1. Craig Kimbrel will win his arbitration hearing on February 17th and the Braves will be looking for a new closer in the next year. This will put a stamp on the Braves probably not resigning him long term. But this will free up money to sign Simmons, Kris Medlen and Mike Minor to long term contracts. These three will have contracts by the season begins and continue with the John Hart theory of locking up the young guns.
These predictions/thoughts do not represent the entire Tomahawk Take staff and are simply opinions.