Breakout Stars from the Braves' First Week of Spring Training Action
We are already a week into spring training action, and with a week of games having taken place there are a few players that have emerged by making an impact. I'm not talking about guys like Jason Heyward or Justin Upton, but rather younger and less proven guys that are trying to show they have what it takes to help this team make the playoffs.
This article takes a look at four guys that have made an impact on the first week of action.
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Evan Gattis has been one of the biggest stories of spring training for the Braves. The feel-good-story prospect is 6-for-12 with a homer and a number of hard-hit balls. This shouldn't be much of a surprise, however, as Gattis has done a remarkable job of tearing through the minor leagues in very little time.
The way Gattis is playing early on is putting him in the mix to earn one of the final spots on the Opening Day roster. If he can make the team, his defensive versatility could earn him plenty of at-bats—especially if Brian McCann is not ready to go for the opener.
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The favorite to win the final spot in the rotation is Julio Teheran. Some fans had questions about Teheran after his struggles last year, but two strong hitless innings on Sunday in his start against the Pirates was the first step to showing he belongs.
The top prospect has shown plenty of promise with a strong end to his winter ball season, and this good first step will only help solidify the minds of those around the team that Teheran does belong.
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Another player that disappointed last season and made a strong first impression this spring is Joey Terdoslavich. Joey T started last year in Triple-A, totally skipping over Double-A, and was clearly over-matched offensively in addition to having some defensive struggles. He was able to turn things around a little bit in Double-A after a demotion, and he showed some that he still has a chance.
Terdoslavich has started the spring going 3-for-7, and that includes a homer in the spring training opener against the Tigers. The way he has hit the ball this spring is starting to gain some notice, and could get him considered for one of the final bench spots on the Opening Day roster.
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J.R. Graham is best known right now as the guy the Braves refused to include in the Justin Upton deal. However, Graham is much more than just the answer to a trivia question, as he has done nothing but impress since he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB draft from Santa Clara University.
Graham has appeared in two games so far and has not given up a run while picking up a save. Graham still needs some time in the minors, but he has considerable potential as either a starter or late-inning reliever.