The Atlanta Braves called up five reinforcements from the minor leagues when rosters expanded on Monday. There are no new faces, as each player has seen time in the major leagues either this year or last.
However, there is some hope that a couple of these guys could strengthen or even improve some areas on the team.
Let’s take a look at each of the five players recalled by the Braves, review their scouting report and then see how they can help the no-hittable Braves.
Joey-T gets back to the show for the first time since 2013. He’s a switch-hitting first baseman/outfielder with the potential for some power.
Terdo has proved to be streaky in his minor league career, and this year was no exception. After a hot start at Triple-A, where he hit .330 in April—leading some to wonder why he didn’t make the team—Terdoslavich slumped through the season’s next two months, hitting .194.
Since the beginning of July, he’s hit .282 with a .355 on-base percentage. That includes a spectacular .316 average in his past 14 games, during which he earned International League Player of the Week honors.
He is an equally good hitter from both sides of the plate, posting a nearly identical .720 OPS from the left side as he did while posting a .730 OPS from the right side.
The Braves hope that Terdoslavich can strengthen their lackluster bench. Since he’s not a very mobile outfielder or third baseman and likely won’t see too much time at first base due to Everyday Freddie Freeman, he will be used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter.
The lefty Chasen Shreve, burst onto the scene this year from virtual obscurity. An almost-forgotten 11th-round pick from the 2010 draft, Shreve spent the first four seasons of his Braves career focusing on being a control pitcher.
This season he decided a change was in order and amped up his velocity. You can read all about Shreve’s change in pitching style in an article I wrote earlier this year.
The increased velocity made his strikeout numbers this season double to over 12 K/9. He was promoted right to the majors from Double-A in mid-July and posted great numbers in five games of relief for Atlanta.
It was a bit of a head-scratcher as to why he didn’t get recalled in mid-August, when the team opted to go with the more experienced but less effective Luis Avilan.
Shreve should assume an important role in the big league pen for the season’s final month, as he will be counted on to get out tough lefties as well as pitch critical innings late in games. With a good month, he should earn a spot on the Braves playoff roster (assuming the team makes the playoffs).
The Braves catcher of the future, Bethancourt should see a lot more playing time this year than he did during his September call-up last year—when he only received one at-bat.
When Bethancourt is behind the plate he’s one of the best defensive catchers in all of baseball, with a cannon for an arm that can suppress any opponent’s running game.
At the plate he’s more of a work in progress—though he does bring a hot bat with him. He spent a week on the disabled list in mid-August after getting hit on the hand by a ball, but upon returning he went 13-for-30 (.433) in his last seven games.
The Braves will likely use Bethancourt at least once a week, giving Evan Gattis extra rest down the stretch.
This month will also be yet another audition for Bethancourt, as the Braves would like for him to take over the catching duties next season, pushing Gattis to the outfield or to another team in a trade.
Juan Jaime throws 100 mph. For that reason, he will get nearly-infinite chances to prove he can pitch in the majors.
He has a history of being a streaky pitcher and seems to constantly be fighting control problems. That will happen when a pitcher uses maximum effort to hit triple-digits.
When Jaime is on, he can be a real asset in the bullpen, but far too often he needs to be bailed out after walking too many guys. That was the case in his first game back on Monday, when he walked two, while also allowing two hits, without completing an inning.
Jaime should come with a warning: Use with caution.
Jose Constanza can hit. He proved that by winning the International League batting title in 2012, when he posted a .314 average in Triple-A. Of course, then he came up and only hit .250 in the majors.
Constanza has hit .310 since the beginning of July at Triple-A. He gets on base at a decent clip and can steal a base, but he doesn’t offer much in the way of power.
The Braves will likely use him like they used Jordan Schafer—as a pinch-runner and occasional pinch-hitter.
Not called up
There’s a chance some other players may get called up throughout the month, like outfielder Todd Cunningham or lefty reliever Ryan Bucther. Both of them have had good seasons and were playing extremely well.
In the case of Cunningham, he has hit .307/.394/.460 since the beginning of July. Those are better all-around numbers than Terdoslavich and Constanza, making it puzzling as to why he wasn’t recalled. Perhaps the team is trying to save a minor league option.
Buchter has put together eight straight scoreless relief appearances and has not been scored on in 19 of his last 20 outings. His absence from the September call-ups list is also puzzling, though, like Jaime, walks are a problem for Buchter.
The five guys who did get called up will find their way into ballgames. They won’t have the luxury of being eased into major league assignments. With the Braves struggling to find offense and reliable relief pitching, these five guys will be thrown into the fire and given a chance to succeed or fail in the midst of a pennant race.
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