Hanson, Heyward and Freeman among latest cuts
If you’re in Myrtle Beach within the next couple of months, make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to view the Heyward and Freeman show. Of course, if you don’t catch them there, they’ll likely be performing in Pearl, Miss. before the summer is complete.
We’ve had the pleasure of watching this act in Disney over the past six weeks and I’d have to say they’re the best teenage duo in the country right now. I’m sorry if I’ve offended any Jonas Brothers fans. But I’d have to say the odds of Heyward carrying a tune seem much greater than those of Nick Jonas routinely hitting 400-foot homers.
OK. Now that I’ve referred to the Jonas Brothers without ever knowingly ever hearing anything they’ve ever recorded, we’ll return to Braves camp, which got a little roomier on Thursday morning, when Tommy Hanson, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman learned they were being sent to Minor League camp.
Hanson lived up to his tremendous expectations and now will spend a month or two with Triple-A Gwinnett before getting the opportunity to bring his act to Atlanta.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Hanson could certainly be the best member of the Atlanta rotation by the time this season is complete. But it makes sense for him to get some more Minor League seasoning. If he started the season as Atlanta’s big league starter, he’d be scheduled to make just two starts in April.
In other words, barring injuries suffered by another starter, we knew that Hanson was going to eventually be cut. We just didn’t know when.
With Hanson in Minor League camp, manager Bobbby Cox will now have the opportunity to ensure each of his projected starters and relievers can get their necessary work during the remainder of the exhibition season.
As for Heyward and Freeman, they exceeded every expectation that I had. Just two years ago they were facing high school opponents. But that didn’t stop them from spendng the past six weeks making fans wonder if they might actually get a call to Atlanta this year.
Like I’ve said in the past, now that I’ve had the chance to see these two kids play, I’ll never say never about that possibility. But at the same time, I think it would be more appropriate to debate whether they’re Major Leauge-ready at this time next year.
While playing for Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach and likely Double-A Mississippi this year, Heyward and Freeman will experience a natural maturation process. They need to test themselves against they caliber and frequency of offspeed pitches that weren’t present when they dominated the South Atlantic League last year.
From an offensive and defensive standpoint, Heyward and Freeman handled themselves admirably among the Major Leaguers. Also it was refreshing to see the humility that they displayed throughout camp. They were true professionals and I’m looking forward to watching them continue to make their trek toward Atlanta.
In this business, you pull for good people and those two kids certainly fit that category.
TV Game: Chip Caray and Brian Jordan will serve as the broadcasters for today’s game which will be on MLB.TV and CSS, for those of you who are still watching baseball on television.
Kotchman sick again: Casey Kotchman said he felt great yesterday and planned to return to today’s lineup. But the first baseman, who had battled the flu most of last week, started to feel sick again this morning. He’s fearful that he might have eaten something and acquired food poisoning.
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
Chipper Jones 3B
Brian McCann C
Jeff Francoeur RF
Greg Norton 1B
Brandon Jones LF
Jordan Schafer CF
Derek Lowe P