Pastornicky, Constanza and Carpenter were optioned to Gwinnett today. #BravesAdvertisement
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) March 26, 2013
That’s a tough break for the young shortstop as he rebounded nicely this spring training after a tough 2012 season that saw him win the shortstop job only to relinquish it for the near future. Among hitters with at least 20 at-bats, Pastornicky led the team with his .444 on-base percentage, finished second in batting (.375) and third in OPS (1.016). He had two home runs, 14 RBI and three stolen bases. In the field, he committed three errors for a .963 fielding percentage while playing both shortstop and second base.
I’ve been supportive of Pastornicky making the team over his competition Ramiro Pena. The reason for that is the primary role the final infielder will play for the Braves. They will mostly serve as pinch-hitters and pinch-runners, both of which Pastornicky has the edge over Pena. Manager Fredi Gonzalez will not substitute Andrelton Simmons for defensive purposes. Perhaps for Dan Uggla, but in a tight game he’d also rather have Uggla’s bat in the game. Pena’s advantages include being a better fielder, but he made the same amount of errors in less chances than Pastornicky this spring. He can also switch-hit to provide some versatility but is just a career .233 hitter and hit .250 this spring. His defensive advantages will be put to minimal use in my opinion and his bat and running ability are lacking in comparison to Pastornicky.
That appears to be water under the bridge at this point. The Braves have decided to go with Pena, who they acquired this offseason. I am interested to see just how much the Braves use his defense in the end of games and what he can provide on the offensive side. In my mind his defensive advantages won’t carry more value than Pastornicky’s advantages on offense, but we will soon find out.