Braves young guns impress in grapefruit league opener

Daria Del CollianoContributor IMarch 3, 2010

KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Jason Heyward #71 of the Atlanta Braves poses during photo day at Champions Stadium on February 26, 2010 in Kissimmee, Florida.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

 It’s no secret that Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson are being touted as the future stalwarts of the Atlanta Braves.

In Tuesday’s 4-2 Grapefruit League opening loss to the New York Mets, the young guns lived up to the billing.

Making his spring debut, Major League Baseball’s top prospect made an immediate impact in his 4 1/2 innings of work.

Heyward reached base in all three of his plate appearances and finished the day with a hit, two walks, and a stolen base.

Not too shabby for the 20-year-old whiz kid who hopes to win a starting job in the Braves outfield this season.

Hanson, last season’s rookie sensation, picked up right where he left off. The 23-year-old phenom struck out three batters over two scoreless innings.

Kris Medlen succeeded Hanson and was equally as impressive, throwing up zeros in his two innings of work. Medlen departed with the Braves leading 1-0 after four innings.

The wheels came off when the Mets lineup tagged new Brave Jesse Chavez for three runs in the fifth, which proved too costly for Atlanta to overcome.

Despite the loss, the talk after the game centered around Heyward and Hanson’s performances.

Hanson continues to lend credence to the belief that he will one day anchor Atlanta’s rotation, and be the ace of the staff for years to come.

The hype around Heyward has been astounding, but the 6'5" 245 pounder has a lethal combination of skills that make him truly special.

While his power and high on base percentage set him apart from other young hitting prospects, it is the level of poise and maturity he’s already displayed that leaves no doubt that this kid will one day be a bonafide superstar.

It’s just a matter of when.

Offensively, Heyward appears ready. If he can impress Cox with his defense this spring, the Braves’ next “Chosen One” may begin his reign in Atlanta this April.

Stay tuned…

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