Atlanta Braves' Winners and Losers Halfway Through Spring Training

Daniel KockContributor IIIMarch 13, 2013

Atlanta Braves' Winners and Losers Halfway Through Spring Training

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    The Atlanta Braves have reached the midway point of the 2013 spring training.

    Some players have yet to find comfort in the box or on the mound while others look to be in mid-season form.

    The spring training struggles will affect younger players more than veterans with roster spots up for grabs. On the flip side, the young players that do perform well help themselves more than a veteran.

    With that said, here's a look at some winners and losers at the halfway point of spring training.

Winner: Julio Teheran

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    Julio Teheran has won the No. 5 starting pitcher job this spring training, making him the biggest winner.

    It was likely that Teheran had to lose this spot more than win it, but his response in spring training should encourage Braves' fans.

    Not only has he earned a spot in the rotation, he's been the Braves' best starter this spring training.

    In 14 innings, he has posted a 1.29 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and .087 opponent batting average while striking out 18 batters - at least twice as many as any other starter.

    Teheran is coming off his best outing this spring throwing five hitless innings along with six strikeouts in the Braves' 10-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

    The little debate that remained over the final starting pitcher spot can be put to rest.

Loser: Sean Gilmartin

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    The pitcher slotted to give Teheran the biggest push for the No. 5 spot in the rotation was left-hander Sean Gilmartin.

    Gilmartin doesn't have close to the stuff of Teheran but is a polished pitcher who can work both sides of the plate with all his pitches.

    However, spring has not been kind to him as he's posted a 6.75 ERA in eight innings of work. That includes six earned runs, two home runs allowed and an opponent .353 batting average.

    Gilmartin won't be making the 25-man roster out of camp, but it was a long shot to begin with.

    It's time for him to work out some things at the Triple-A level as prospect J.R. Graham is making a strong push to become the pitcher in line to join Atlanta if injuries occur to the starters.

Winner: Evan Gattis

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    How can Evan Gattis not be a winner with the spring training he's had?

    The numbers are eye-opening: .464 average, .857 slugging and a 1.341 OPS in 28 at-bats, which includes two home runs and 10 RBIs.

    I continue to say this, but the Braves cannot keep him off the 25-man roster.

    He's proven he can hit in the minors and has mauled this spring training.

    Determining a primary role for Gattis will be the hard part, but he's done enough to earn a place with the major league team.

    That makes Gattis a big winner this spring training.

Loser: Tim Hudson

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    Tim Hudson will not be losing a starting spot or anything of significance at the conclusion of spring training.

    However, what makes him a loser thus far has been the ongoing trend of early inning struggles.

    In 2012, he had issues in the first few innings before settling down into a rhythm.

    That has continued this spring as he's allowed at least one run in the first inning in his last three outings.

    Overall, the 6.43 ERA and .309 opponent batting average are disappointing, but it's those first inning struggles that make Hudson a loser so far in spring training in my mind.

Winner: Jordan Schafer

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    I think most fans were surprised to hear the Braves were bringing back Jordan Schafer this offseason.

    Schafer entered this spring training without any minor league options remaining, meaning he had to make the team or he'd be cut.

    While Schafer hasn't been off the charts, he has positioned himself to make the roster by being active this spring training.

    He's hitting .263 while stealing a couple bases, walked four times and is tied for third on the team in runs scored with seven.

    I don't see Reed Johnson's roster spot in any trouble, but the fact that he's struggled may also lead to having some more speed/fielding insurance on the bench in Schafer.

    He is not a lock to make the roster, but in the end I do see the Braves rewarding him with a spot on the MLB team.

Loser: Jose Constanza

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    I should leave this slide blank since that's Jose Constanza's impact on the 2013 spring training - nothing.

    Constanza was thought to be in a competition with Schafer to make the 25-man roster but hasn't made it to spring training yet as he still deals with visa issues.

    It's hard to know how much blame or any at all to put on Constanza.

    This is largely out of his hands as he waits in the Dominican Republic, but also shouldn't be his first go around.

    Constanza has no shot to make the roster out of spring now, and whether it's his fault or not, that makes him a loser of spring training.