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Braves name 22-year-old prospect Tyler Pastornicky starting shortstop

Apr 2, 2012, 4:14 PM EDT

Braves Spring baseball AP

Tyler Pastornicky came into spring training as the favorite to be the Braves’ shortstop and today they made it official, naming the 22-year-old prospect the Opening Day starter.

Pastornicky was acquired from the Blue Jays in the mid-2010 deal for Yunel Escobar and replaces veteran Alex Gonzalez, who signed with the Brewers as a free agent. Jack Wilson is hurt, so he beat out fellow prospect Andrelton Simmons for the job.

Simmons is headed to the minors, but could be in Atlanta later this season if Pastornicky struggles. And while Pastornicky’s lofty .314 batting average between Double-A and Triple-A as a 21-year-old last season makes struggling seem unlikely, he also managed just seven homers, 27 total extra-base hits, and 32 walks in 117 games.

Pastornicky rarely strikes out and has very good speed, which should enable him to post a solid batting average, but expecting him to hit .300-plus is obviously wishful thinking and his lack of power and patience are definitely weaknesses. Of course, the Braves lived with Gonzalez’s brutal .277 on-base percentage and measly .377 slugging percentage for the past season-and-a-half, so as long as Pastornicky plays good defense, steals some bases, and hits some singles they’ll probably be happy.

  1. cltjump - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Our shortstop position has been a black hole ever since Furcal left.

    • cardinalcrazy - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      You can have him back including his ridiculous $14 mill dollar contract. Not sure what the Cardinal’s GM was thinking about.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM

        Winning another World Series?

      • cltjump - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:27 PM

        No, he outlived his usefulness. Just pointing out we haven’t really had a good shortstop in ATL since he left.

    • illegalblues - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      Renteria was pretty damn good while he was here.

  2. proudlycanadian - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    The Jays took the Braves to the cleaners on that trade.

    • liverpoolred04 - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      Yay…go Expos!!

  3. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    The last sentence says it as well as I ever could. Pastornicky doesn’t need to be a phenom to be an upgrade. I loved watching Gonzo work with the leather, but not as much as I hated watching him take his turn in the batting order.

    • cltjump - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      Horrifying, wasn’t it? You never knew whether the screams would be joy or anguish.

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