Heyward produces some encouragement
Growing up, I remember looking often looking at the Grapefruit League standings with the hope of seeing that the Pirates were nowhere near the top. There was nothing scientific about this mindset. Just somewhere along the line of my childhood, I determined that Spring Training success often equated to regular season disappointment.
Over the course of the past two weeks, I’ve come to realize some of you do not share this mindset.
If you are a part of that small group who chooses to believe wins and losses are important within a (Grapefruit) League where teams can tie, I will say that the the 2-10-1 record the Braves carry into this afternoon’s game against the Phillies should be considered as meaningful as the 5-1 start the Braves could encounter while playing the first six games of the regular season against the Mets and Astros.
By the end of September, nobody will remember the first six games of the regular season. But you will at least be able to recognize the guys playing in the late innings of those games.
There are a plethora of things more concerning right now than wins and losses. Jason Heyward provided some comfort on Wednesday night when he highlighted a two-hit night with a home run off Stephen Strasburg. Hitting coach Greg Walker spent some time this morning talking about how good Heyward looked last night. Check for a story later this afternoon.
Now the Braves need Jair Jurrjens to make his own strides against the Phillies this afternoon. While he has said his right knee has not been a problem, scouts believe he has been somewhat hesitant with his delivery during his first two outings. Today we’ll have a chance to see if he is able to push off the rubber with a little more confidence.
Another popular question recently has been whether the Braves will begin this season with Tyler Pastornicky or Andrelton Simmons as their starting shortstop. You know my opinion over the past couple months was that it would be best to keep Simmons in the Minors for a least a few more months this year.
If you’re talking about choosing one of these guys for one game, one week or even just one year, Simmons is undoubtedly the guy. He’s far superior from the defensive end and might be every bit as productive as Pastornicky would be in the eighth spot of the lineup.
But would rushing Simmons to the big leagues limit what he might be able to offer from the offensive end during his long-term future with the Braves. This is one of the many questions general manager Frank Wren and his staff will continue to debate over the next two weeks.
A week ago I was still assuming Simmons would begin the year in the Minors. Now it does not seem wise to assume anything in regard to this shortstop battle.
TODAY’S LINEUP @ Phillies