Editor’s Note: We here at the venerable General Store would like to introduce you to the newest member of our legendary collection of scoundrels and miscreants. Brad Blackburn is a terrific creator of content and what some would call a “learned scholar.” His knowledge of baseball history is only rivaled by his taste for both satire and the works of the great Transcendentalist authors. He works with computers in something called “marketing,” but despite these flaws he has the potential to be the greatest man this world has ever known. You can find his previous work at Charlantan and his quality content never ends on twitter dot com @bradnarok.
September is now upon us and with it has come the expansion of MLB rosters. For the Atlanta Braves, this expansion could not have come at a better time, except for maybe April-August. The Braves are struggling right now. And let’s face it, the reason is because they are boring and have no will to win. They have become complacent and focused on watches, cars, and sabermetrics instead of beating the rest of the league. Fortunately for these despots, the Braves minor leagues are stocked, STOCKED I tell you, with a bevy of exciting prospects just champing at the bit to make a playoff push. Frank Wren has called up just five of them, because he also doesn’t want to win. Regardless of their few numbers, this group can and will perform better than absolutely every starter on the team with the exception of Freddie Freeman; naturally.
So, who are these fall heroes? These fellas of the farm system? Just who are these September saviors? Let’s take a look.
Christhian Bethancourt – C
Of all the top prospects in the Braves’ system, B-court is the toppest. Beety-C is a defensive catcher first. His best tool is his arm with which he can throw out runners like they’re last month’s milk. He is also supposedly is good at framing pitches, if you buy into that sort of stuff. Really, it’s not Bethy’s defense that should get Braves fans going; it’s what he is going to do for the offense. His bat is mediocre at best, but his presence will finally give Fredi the freedom to put Gattis back in the outfield to replace some of the sorry production that has been coming from those starters. Courteezus is going to be big for this team, and may end up being the key to keeping Gattis around as a LF long term after the Braves trade BJ for another starting pitcher next season. Maybe we can get him a cool Spanish nickname too.
Summary of Contributions: Options at catcher, defense.
Potential Ceiling: Next McCann.
Joey Terdoslavich – 1B/OF?
Joey Terdoslavich is an outfielder and a first baseman. He won’t ever see any action at 1B, because Freddie Freeman is a real ballplayer and takes no rest – thankfully. With Free carrying the team on his back, Terdoslavich will likely assume a pinch hitter role. He’s going to excel in that role because he is a switch hitter. He’ll baffle even the best of managers by busting up their precious pitcher splits and defensive shifts. Should he be required to, he can play the outfield. He would be a vast improvement over BJ Upton. Don’t believe me? Even playing most of the season at AAA Gwinnett, Terdoslavich comes to the team with a higher WAR than Melvin has amassed all season! Terdoslavich is not a top prospect anymore, but he can play 1B and the OF, so he’s a lot like Martin Prado. Just the kind of humble, go-getter this team needs.
Summary of Contributions: Hitting in the clutch, being a good teammate.
Potential Ceiling: Next Prado or 2002-2003 Chipper.
Chasen Shreve – LHP
Shreve is a lefty with a fireball for a primary pitch. His fastball sits anywhere from 91 to probably as much as 101mph. He throws a slider too. So, basically just think of him like Craig Kimbrel but from the left side. Shreve is also not conditioned to be a closer, so Fredi will be able to confidently use him in non-save situations. Shreve is going to replace Avilan while James Russell moves into a ROOGY sort of role. He may not have a falcon pose on the mound, but chop-heads can look for Shreve to be a key part of this team’s wild card run and beyond.
Summary of Contributions: 8th inning option, lefty Kimbrel.
Potential Ceiling: Next Smoltz/Glavine hybrid.
José Constanza – OF
In my youth, I traveled through the humid forests and along the shores of Central America. My wandering took me once to Santo Domingo where I heard tales, whisperings really, of a fierce being like the titans of old. He was known simply as El Jején. According to the legends, he was like a man with the wild quickness of a centipede. He fed on the wood of the local cedars and taunted beasts and humans alike with the hardest slaps he could muster. These slaps were spoken of often for their remarkable intensity in the absence of any inflicted pain. My guide told me, “It was like a rhino coming at you, but when it touched you, it was only like an off course pillow.” These stories have turned into myth and been exaggerated for years. I never believed them, to be honest. Until a few years ago when hyper-prospect José Constanza made his Braves debut.
Constanza now rejoins the major league team ready to solidify his status as an everyday potential player worth a multi-year contract. He should almost certainly get that chance by taking BJ Upton’s spot in CF. However, as we learned Monday, his value as a pinch hitting solution for literally any hitter on the roster may keep him on the bench. He may be too useful to waste in the field. Constanza brings what this team lost when Jordan Schafer walked away from the team. He is fast, hard-working, and an exciting player who loves the game and plays it the right way even when things aren’t always working out for him like how he never complained about playing in the minors so much even when the Braves entire outfield was bad this season.
Summary of Contributions: Cover 2 OF spots at a time with his speed, pinch hitting deity, #hero.
Potential Ceiling: No comparison available.
Juan Jaime – RHP
Juan Jaime is a closer from somewhere who throws saves hard. He has fast pitches and uses his right hand to make them. Jaime comes to the team after being in Gwinnett for the durainder of the yearsince. He’s a rude dude with a tudey tude and the argle bargle flim flummery declends flipsum tox idytium. Jaime himeys holo-tinies fastball.
Summary of Contributions: Pintoreos.
Potential Ceiling: Next Wohlers.