Every season in MLB, each team is reminded how important depth is at some point. For the Atlanta Braves, they will see the return of a guy that can go out and play either position in the middle of the infield and swing a decent bat.
In 2013, Tyler Pastornicky tore his ACL, effectively ending his season. As of a few days ago, reports have stated that his rehab is going smoothly and he could start taking ground balls for the first time around the first week of February. This is good news to the Braves as they need all of the help they can get on the infield considering the question marks that surround second base.
It means that they will be getting back a player that has been in their farm system since he was 18-years-old and is really getting better each year. In his rookie season, Pastornicky took the field 76 times as a 22-year-old and hit .243. That was when Andrelton Simmons came along. As he went back to triple-A Gwinnett, he hit .292 before being called back up for a brief stint with the Braves, during which he tore his ACL.
Pastornicky’s defensive ability is the only question mark about his game. It was clear in 2012, when Simmons was called to the big league club, that his defensive prowess was much more desirable than that of Pastornicky. He doesn’t have the range, the arm or the quickness of Simmons that he would need have to have to play a shortstop regularly in the league. He seems more comfortable at second base, which is where he played most of his innings in 2013.
I see him at second base at some point in the 2014 season. As he makes his way back to the big league team, I feel like the Braves will find their need for a semi-utility player for the infield. Other than the team’s starting players, Pastornicky is one of the very few players that have any big league time in the infield. Putting him on the roster after his injury will also give Tommy La Stella time to develop in Gwinnett before being called up to the big club at some point in late 2014.