Simmons and Medlen could soon see more significant roles

UPDATED

There is obviously not a Braves fan who wanted to endure the agony that has grown during the current eight-game losing streak. But those of you who were hoping to see more of Andrelton Simmons and Kris Medlen might appreciate the consequences.

The Braves have not decided it is definitely time for Simmons to begin his reign as Atlanta’s starting shortstop.  But there been a firm decision made to switch Medlen from reliever to starter.

Medlen has been optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett to make two or three starts in preparation to join Atlanta’s rotation.  With the bench weakened by injuries, the Braves have recalled outfielder Jose Constanza to fill the vacated roster spot for at least a few days. Constanza will play left on Tuesday night and  bat ninth, like he often did when he was a catalyst last August.

While Medlen’s absence could temporarily weaken the bullpen, the Braves are banking on him returning in a couple of weeks to provide the dependability that has not been present when Mike Minor and Randall Delgado have started recently.  <p>

Medlen has struggled out of the pen recently, posting a 5.65 ERA and allowing opponents to hit .281 against him in his past 14 1/3 innings (12 appearances).  <p>

Having the opportunity to work on a regular schedule and know that he will do more than work more than two innings every so often could benefit Medlen, who posted a 3.86 ERA while the Braves went 13-1 in his starts during the 2010 season.  <p>

When Medlen is ready for Atlanta’s rotation, the Braves would have to decide who to remove. Mike Minor and Delgado currently stand as the top candidates.  <p>

Now for the potential  Simmons decision.

Atlanta’s shortstop Tyler Pastornicky is not the reason the Braves have totaled 20 runs and posted a 5.66 ERA during this eight game skid.  His most costly error during this span was a behind-the-back flip that would have been celebrated had Dan Uggla held on to the baseball on Sunday night.  But Pastornicky might be victimized by this skid simply because his limited range and hands have been a concern since the start of the season.

In fact, Pastornicky’s defensive limitations have been a concern since Simmons came to Spring Training and showed why many scouts had labeled him the best defensive shortstop at the Minor League level last year.

Some members of the Braves organization lobbied for Simmons make the jump from the Class A level to begin this year as Atlanta’s starting shortstop.  But it was decided that he needed some more time at the Minor League level to strengthen his once-questioned offensive skills.

Carrying the momentum generated when he won the Carolina League batting title last year, Simmons has batted .299 with three home runs and an .811 OPS in 167 at-bats with Double-A Mississippi.  The exciting 22-year-old shortstop has seemingly passed the test.

Like Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur provided sparks when they made successful jumps to Atlanta from the Double-A level in 2005, Simmons could do the same.  At that same time, he will significantly improve the club’s defense.

Jurrjens impresses: When Jair Jurrjens allowed three runs and totaled 15 innings in the first two starts he made after being demoted to Gwinnett, the Braves were not overly impressed because he primarily used his secondary pitches.  They sent him to the Minors to command and gain some life on a fastball that had been flat since his right knee began bothering him late in the 2010 season.

After enduring two consecutive ugly outings, Jurrjens did nothing but impress while limiting Rochester to three hits over eight scoreless innings on Sunday. According to one National League scout, his fastball rested around 91 mph and touched 93.  At the same time, the former All-Star had no trouble commanding both his slider and changeup.

Many members of the Braves organization were buzzing yesterday about Jurrjens’ outing.  It stands as one of the few reasons they have had to get excited over the past week.

32 Comments

Finally

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Bring up Simmons! Pastornicky is not major league ready!

Pasternicky has shown a dependability as a contact hitter the Braves haven’t had since Rafael Belliard. Much more needed situationally than a shortstop who always swings for the fence. Now if he only had Belliard’s vacum cleaner of a glove and accurate arm.

Yes, he’s quite dependable at making outs.

Hey Bowman…its HALARIOUS that you fall quiet regarding your boyfriend Hanson.

Pastornicky is a poor man’s David Eckstein. Put differently, he sucks.

Sergis, Through my translator I have determined you are attempting to say I show favor to Hanson. I think I was every bit as critical as I needed to be when he was mediocre at best through April. I also opined it was a mistake to rush him just to make the Opening Day start. He was not good yesterday. That’s covered in the game story. Today’s entry was a different topic. And I hope you are not suggesting he is one of the two that should be removed from the rotation.

Jamey Carroll is a good comp for Pastornicky.

Without the walk rate, the thing that makes Jamey Carroll better than average.

Should have kept Gonzalez for one more year. Wonder if he would have signed a one year deal?

We had a chance to go get Furcal back, which I was very much in favor of, but nooooooo……..

The Braves spent like sixteen cents in free agency this year. We were never going to sign Furcal.

DOB says Medlen to Gwinnett and Constanza joins the big club. Yippeee!!!! Day late and a dollar short, but they are finally getting it.

seriously, billreef? no one expected furcal to perform this way. he had back injuries galore over the past few seasons. ever heard of hinsight bias? ask the pirates about that with regards to jose bautista.

No one but me my lad, no one but me.

If things don’t pick up is Hayward on the trading block? It might be just me but he looks like he thinks he’s entitled. Freddie need to pull an Aundrew jones.

What you have not mentioned, requiring honesty, is what the Braves current management team has done to the Braves.
Sherholtz started it with his “rent a player” attempts. Did not learn his lesson when getting J D Drew (oops, hang nail, can’t play…might hurt my next contract). Gave up Wainwright and Boris’s client bolted as quickly as possible for greener pastures.
Next came a deal of genius…five players for Teixiera, another Boris client who never raised our level and bolted for greener pastures. There is our shortstop (Andrus), our starting lefty who can touch 94 or 95 mph (Harrison), our 100 mph starter or reliever, Feliz, a better back up at catcher and first, Salty, and the last guy I forget.
Never works, does it. Did not work with New Orleans trading the ranch for Ricky Williams. Did not work for Minn. trading for Herschel. Did not work for the Falcons (yet) trading for Julio. But mortgaged our future for another rent a player that we knew we could never sign (or should have known) due to Boris being his rep.

Okay, let’s give them a pass for trying and failing then.
What about now.
Who gave an aging third baseman who is oft injured and in recent years bats around 270 with 15 dingers, major money for 3 years. Not saying Chipper is not a great one. Just saying his contract is one of many they issued ham stringing their options. He has to rest often, is often injured and takes longer to recover at 40, and is not quite as fast on defense as once was true (did his age cause him to be unable to field the hot grounder that has him out again). And the fact he is the catalyst on this offense says more about how weak this offense is, than does how prowess as a $13 million dollar man.
Add the Japanese star for 18 million, who finished in the minors, a 4 year $60 million signing of Lowe, (then claimed they saved $5 milion by trading him…no, they paid $10 million for a low A minor league reliever they got for Lowe), and finally, they gave a 2nd baseman who strikes out a third of the time and never should be batted 4th, where he frequently comes up early in games with men on and whiffs, and he has barely adequate defense, with oft errant throws, $15 mill per year for four years.

Maybe that is why they have a middle relief corp that is more like gasoline alley most
of the time. I mean does anyone think Livan, Chad, Christian are of value. I see almost every other team we face having a middle reliever that comes in and thows 95 mph. I see most teams with left handed relief specialists. Where are ours?

Now Heyward may become an all star. But right now he makes most of us long for the return of Francoeur. All the work, all the “new instruction” cannot make him swing at better pitches, make more consistent contact, hit almost any left hander, and, perhaps at 22, it is he that belongs in the minors learning his craft.

Finally, look at the defense on this team. Chipper is a step slower, and his replacement (Juan) is over weight and only an adquate fielder. Pastornicky has limited range, and is a rookie making rookie mistakes. Uggla is unable to throw consistently and has cost us double plays and his occasional thrilling dive for balls in the outfield would be more thrilling if he were more consistent defensively. Of course, with Freddie gone, first is a disaster. Then add the seeming inability of Mac to slide to block balls and a lack of a quick release to throw out runners, with a less than accurate arm, and it is no wonder the pitchers have such a frustrating time. And that, my friend, is again, the team this management group has given us.

I predicted when the year started, and we did nothing to improve ourselves, while the Nats and Marlins did, the Phillies still had the pitching (see how they replaced Werth with Pence…that is good work). And the Mets surprised me. I said we would eventually drop to 4th.

And a manager who did nothing in Florida, has seemingly had nothing to answer these problems. His answer is “keep running them out there.”
He did that in September and see how well that worked.

Answer, cream rises and this team is sliding to where they belong.

Damn, Mike, welcome to the blog. I agree with 90+ per cent of what you say. You don’t play soccer do you?

I agree with most of this. Also we should of traded Jurrjens (another guy who we have no chance of resigning) last summer to improve our line up and restock our farm system. But all we heard was “you dont trade your best pitcher in the middle of a playoff run”. Well the fact is Jurrjens has NEVER been our best pitcher. He had a good 6 months and we should of sold high on him… especially with so many strong arms in the minors. This narrow minded and short term thinking is why we are in trouble now. It is the same reason we got in rentals like tex and drew. Pointless moves which doesnt help to build a team for the long term.

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Mr. Bowman… Wow, way to get my hopes up about Simmons. Do you have any actual news about him, like when he might move up a level or two?

From Michael Bourn to Adam Dunn in just under two weeks.

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Hmmm. Jose Reyes BA .262 HR- 0: $106MM contract(Scott Boras Client). Michael Bourne BA .300 HR-5 (up coming contract-Scott Boras client). I believe the reason why Reyes had gotten the bigger contract as quoted by the soccer stars was that he had more power. Guess Boras is licking his chops now.

We should turn this into a drinking game. Every time Bill says something moronic, might as well chug the bottle, because there’s more where that came from.

To be honest I agree with Bill. Bourne will get a huge contract.

It is great to finally hear that the Simmons elevation to the big club may be near. Simply put, Pastornicky’s shortcomings at short (range, hands, decison making, no fluidity in his defensive play) in the field are on display almost every night and this puts added pressure on a staff that has little room for error. Since right now, I breath a sigh of relief every time Wilson is inserted on the field, I am more than willing to be patient with Simmons as he makes the offensive adjustments to major league pitching. I can’t remember a Braves shortshop this limited in the field since Sonny Jackson over fourty years ago.

Mike without the contract that Chipper reworked changing option yr and FA to guaranteed money you do not have Hudson but 9 games ago none of this really mattered. Injuries and sickness will show your weakness. I think this shows how little mlb ready talent we have in the minors right now.

Also the range of our infield is so awful. I always watch braves games and think “Wow the other team makes some good plays vs us”. When in truth its just they have guys with good range and we dont. Pastornicky is very poor defensively, freeman has little range, uggla is average and chipper is too old to field now. So all in all we suck defensively.

O.K so if the Braves bring up Simmons whats gonna happen to Pastornicky? Do the Braves trade him or send him down and maybe make the move from SS to 2nd or perhaps have him be inline to replace Chipper after this year or use him at 3rd vs a leftie is pitching and he needs a day off. I mean you can’t trade the rookie or can you? I bet the Mets will take Pastornicky or Phillies might who knows.

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