Feb. 14 was the date non-pitchers and catchers were to report to spring training for the Atlanta Braves. Here on March 15, we finally have a Jose Constanza sighting. The 29-year-old from the Dominican Republic has reported to camp according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman and Atlanta Journal Constitution Braves writer David O’Brien.
Constanza had been late to report due to “visa issues” and told reporters that he was the last baseball player to be investigated in the Dominican. The speedy outfielder entered this spring training with the chance to compete with Jordan Schafer for a spot on the 25-man roster – likely as a fifth outfielder. But is it too little too late for Constanza?
2012 Recap: Constanza played in 37 games at the MLB level in 2012. He started with the team in April but was quickly sent to the minors, which started an ongoing trend for him in 2012. In his time in Atlanta, he compiled a .250 batting average and .321 on-base percentage while stealing five bases. At Triple-A Gwinnett, he had a .314 average, .380 OBP and stole 14 bases. His highlight of the season was making the postseason roster and contributing a hit and a run in his only plate appearance in the Braves’ loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
2013 Outlook: Making the 25-man roster out of camp appears to be a long shot now for Constanza. It’s hard to picture manager Fredi Gonzalez adding him after missing the first month of the spring. However, there are a lot of managers around the league that would love to have a guy like Constanza on their roster. He can do the little things that make him a valuable commodity to a team.
At the very least, Constanza should provide Schafer some extra motivation to perform these last few weeks. It’s likely too little too late for an Opening Day roster spot for Constanza. But, I wouldn’t totally rule it out yet. A player like Constanza can do a lot of little things to help a team win games.