Young guns ready for spring training

Jason HeywardAtlanta has invited a handful of top prospects to spring training to let them show their stuff. The first prospect is Jason Heyward. Heyward is a 6’5” hitting machine. He is Atlanta’s top prospect and is ranked #3 in all of minor league baseball.

In 120 games at A Rome last year he hit .323 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI. His statistics don’t show but he is rumored to have tremendous power. He is having great success while only being 19 years old. Heyward will most likely start the season at AA Mississippi but it should be fun to watch him hit against major league pitching.

He may not make the major league roster but the experience of spring training will do him good. Hopefully he will show a little more power at AA.

Atlanta’s 2nd ranked prospect is Tommy Hanson. Hanson is the only pitcher to be named MVP of the Arizona Fall League. Hanson toyed with fellow top prospects during the AFL and could be fighting for the 5th spot in the starting rotation. Hanson has only pitched at AA but has shown such dominance that he could be major league ready. Hanson is a huge 6’6” power pitcher that struck out 114 batters in only 98 innings at AA Mississippi. His fastball can reach the upper 90′s and he has a knee buckling curve ball. He needs to bring those with him if he will make the major league roster.

Freddie FreemanFreddie Freeman is 4th on Atlanta’s prospect list and is 38th overall. Freeman is a tall first baseman that had an even better year than Heyward. In 130 games last year at A Rome, Freeman hit .316 with 18 home runs and 95 RBI. Freeman has also shown he can find the gaps as he crushed 33 doubles and 7 triples in his first full season.

Freeman and Heyward could be a home run mashing duo in the middle of Atlanta’s lineup in a few years. Both will start the season at AA Mississippi and could move up the ranks of the minors league together. Both should be about ready for Atlanta in 2010.

Jordan Schafer, Atlanta’s #3 ranked prospect, has been criticized for his suspension for suspicion of performance enhancing drugs. Here is an interesting article that compares the 2007 or “steroid” season with last year’s season. The statistics show he arguably got better after he “got off the roids.” Schafer will be competing for the starting center fielder job as soon as spring training starts. Schafer is just as good if not better defensively than Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson, but he provides power that both Blanco and Anderson lack. If Schafer wins the job he would most likely be placed at the top of the lineup followed by Yunel Escobar in the #2 spot.  

Kris MedlenKris Medlen has also been invited to spring training. Medlen is a hard throwing right-handed pitcher that has been used as a starter and as a reliever. He struggled as a reliever but showed progress when placed in the starting rotation.

Despite the success in the starting rotation Medlen may have to move back to a middle reliever as Atlanta is stocked with top starting pitchers. He did well in the Arizona Fall League which is traditionally known as a hitter’s league, but it doesn’t look like he will make the team as Atlatna already has a strong bullpen.

~Ben

10 Comments

I’ve heard about Jason Heyward. He’s a young guy – and as you said – while he might not make it to the Majors this year, I suspect we will see him there in a year or two.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

If Abreu is really to be had for only one year, how would you feel about him rather than Dunn?

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

I would take Abreu over Dunn in a second. I’m not really a big fan of Abreu but I really don’t like Dunn. All he does is swing as hard as he can at everything and take walks. Abreu will at least hit for average and play defense. I think Abreu will come cheaper too.

Heyward will most likely start the season at High-A Myrtle Beach, but he’ll spend the bulk of the season at AA. Expect to see him in the bigs in September.

Ben,
One of my favorite parts of Spring Training is scouting out the future talent (and being right!). I can’t wait.
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Hanson is awesome. I saw him once he struck out I think ten or nine.

-Bob, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

Ben – Congrats on the # 22 ranking on the Latest Leader’s List!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thanks Julia, congrats on #1. I’m gonna catch up eventually.

I can’t wait to see Heyward play. I keep hearing about him but haven’t got a chance to see him yet. Thanks for the comment on my blog!

~King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

You are real americans! i like this tradiyional kind of sport!
college research

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