March 3, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Ramiro Pena (14) works out prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers at ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex, Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves Ideal 25-Man Roster, Part 1 of 7

Feb 16, 2014; Lake Buena Vistas, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez talks with pitcher Brandon Beachy (37) during spring training at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Ideal 25-Man Roster, Part 1 of 7

The following pieces will discuss the ideal construction of the 25-man roster. Here’s the lineup for the first 3 posts in which we discuss position players and their chances, or lack thereof, to make an ideal 25-man roster. Fredi G., it’s your show so pull up those pants and make it happen!

Post 1. Ramiro Pena, Tyler Pastornicky

Post 2.   Tyler Greene, Joey Terdoslavich, Ernesto Mejia

Post 3. Jose Constanza, Todd Cunningham, Tommy La Stella

In the National League, roster flexibility is of the utmost value. Whether the flexibility is needed for a pinch runner, a platoon partner, or a crucial pinch hitting opportunity, the last 2 players on the bench for National League teams have a much better shot at making an impact over the last 2 spots on American League team.

Why you might ask?  Well, the most obvious reason being the use of the ever-loathed by National League people and ever-loved by American League people; the designated hitter.  The other reasons seem to stem from the use of the DH; less pitching matchup needs, less use for a ROOGY/LOOGY, and lesser of a need for a “pure bat” on the bench. So, the 24th and 25th man on an American League team is normally a “clubhouse” guy that receives little to no playing time, or someone who has the uncanny ability to nail the other team’s 3rd base coach with a baseball-sized wad of Dubble Bubble.

In this post we will analyze the ideal 25-man roster and the flexibility it could provide in resting the regulars.  Posts1-3 will strictly deal with the 13 ideal men that will make up the lineup and bench.  The following players need not be discussed as they are shoo-ins for a starting/bench spot:

Evan Gattis, Gerald Laird, Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla, Andrelton Simmons, Chris Johnson, Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward, Ryan Doumit.

The following players have a shot, whether it be a legit shot or a long shot,  at locking up one of the last 2 bench spots.  I’ll provide my opinion on each individual’s chances for making the roster and what, if any, flexibility each player could provide the team.

 

Atlanta Braves’ Ramiro Pena

Ramiro has a 95% chance of making the roster.  Unless Pena completely flops in Spring Training or shows he’s not yet fully healthy, he’ll break the year on the 25-man. Prior to injuring his shoulder, an injury that required major surgery, Ramiro Pena was playing the baseball of his life. He had become the 2013 version of Martin Prado, providing innings at 2b, SS, and 3b, and would have likely seen time in left field had he not tried to ram his shoulder into earth’s core.

It’s easy to look at the 2013 Pena and daydream that we stole our next Prado (he even resembles Prado in his movements and still wears the same number) but one doesn’t have to look too deep to seeRamiro Pena that we might have seen Pena’s peak last year. On June 3rd of 2013, Pena had an .871 OPS and many a Brave fan was wondering , “Who in tarnation is this rascal? He’s shore a good ‘un!” After June 3rd, Pena’s production told a different story, a .294 OPS story.  It was obviously a small sample and he was evidently injured during some part of that span but his hot start was crumbling with a quickness that even Billy Hamilton would have trouble sprinting aside.

The questions… Is Pena a .773 OPS player? Is Pena a .294 OPS player?  The sensical answer would be no to both.  If Pena’s prior production provides us with any insight, including both his Minor and Major league numbers, Pena is not an above average hitter. However, like his predecessor Prado, Pena could just be a late bloomer, or maybe he just needed a chance to show his offensive quality (he also excelled in the Winter Leagues prior to his time in Atlanta). In all truth, Pena is probably a .650-.710 OPS player that can provide average defense around the horn and can hit much better from the left-hand side than the right.  Does that provide value? My answer: YES!

 

Atlanta Braves’ Tyler Pastornicky

Tyler has a 50% chance of making the roster.  2013 saw Andrelton Simmons have one of the best defensive seasons that baseball has ever seen. 2012 was a different story for a Braves shortstop, a complete nightmare for he and all of us who had to watch and wince.  I made a joke during the 2012 Spring Training concerning the quote I heard most often from the broadcasters, “The ball gets by a diving Pastornicky”. Forty starts and a -16 DRS was all it took for the Braves to realize that Tyler Pastornicky was not theTyler Pastornicky “average” shortstop that they thought he’d be.  In fact, his DRS was 2nd worst amongst SS in the entire Major Leagues, only topping Derek Jeter, whom collected 850 more innings than the Rev.

So, is Pastornicky really that bad?  No…he’s not.  However, he seems destined to become a utility player, not a starting shortstop, or even a starting 2nd baseman. His bat will likely fare better than Pena’s  in the big leagues but the lack of a standout skill really hurts Pastornicky’s chances, especially considering Pena is a switch hitter, has shown success at the big league level, and has shown the ability to play average defense at 3 positions.

The question that would make him a “go” or a “no” would be, “Do the Braves envision Pastornicky as a legit pinch hitting option?” With the acquisition of Doumit to provide flexibility to use Gattis, Laird, or Doumit as the primary pinch hitters off the bench (depending on who’s behind the dish), I don’t think Pastornicky will see very many pinch hitting opportunities.  Does Pastornicky provide value?  My answer: No.

 

Part 2 Coming Soon

The next piece will discuss Tyler Greene, Joey Terdoslavich, Ernesto Mejia and whether they provide value to the Braves’ ideal 25-man roster.

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided Ramiro Pena Tyler Pastornicky

  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Good article Ryan, and welcome aboard bro! I agree with you completely on both Pena and Pastornicky. I have expressed my hope that Pena might be more than simply a 2013 lightning in a bottle, and that perhaps with a new team he can mature into taking another step. People CAN improve :) I doubt it, but I have hopes for 2014 for Pena. With Tyler, I was all excited about him early on, but the past few seasons have certainly shown what you contend – that he will probably never be much more than a decent utility player. I look forward to reading your other six pieces.

  • fireboss

    Don’t understand Prado as a late bloomer. From the time he started getting 200+ AB in Atlanta at age 24 his only sub 800 OPS years were 2011 when he missed all that time with the energy sapping staff infection and 2012 with it was .796.
    You are correct that Pena is a lock for the roster. He’s a superb utility player at many positons and would not clear waivers should the Braves try to send him down. A look at who the Yankees have used in their infield in recent history will tell you they didn’t believe he would ever hit enough to play regularly. He won;t hit much more than Pastornicky but his defense is superior and he’s out of options why Rev isn’t. Rev will as you suggest start at Gwinnett

    I look forward to rest of the series.

    • cothjrr24

      In order to understand Prado’s late bloom you’ll have to look deeper than his Major League years. In the Minors,
      Prado was never considered a prospect as he had absolutely no standout skill. His batting average, walk rate, and fielding were all average, and his power was nearly non-existent. Sure, power development is something that happens over time, but no one would have ever predicted Prado to be the caliber player he came to be, and is now. His major league numbers, offensively and defensively, surpass what he was producing in the Minors, even when he was old for the league.

      It in this sense to which I compare Pena to Prado.

      • fireboss

        Ah I see. I consider late blooming what happens when a player is past prospect stage and suddenly the light bulb comes on like CJ at the plate. Pena would fit that if he suddenly started to hit consistently but I don’t see that happening. Still a better option than Rev or Janish were/are.

  • Lee Trocinski

    Alright, fresh meat… er, I mean, welcome to the site. I agree with most of the analysis here. I can’t imagine Pastornicky having any chance of breaking with the club, as he is still behind everyone recovering from his knee injury. They essentially fill the same role, so both don’t need to be up. Pena’s defense and lack of option years outweigh Pastornicky’s baserunning advantage.

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