While Spring Training is often a chance for the veterans to brush up on their stuff, it’s also a chance for management to get a feel for where some of their minor leaguers are at skill-wise. For the Atlanta Braves, they’ll get that opportunity with infielder Elmer Reyes.
Reyes was signed by Atlanta out of Nicaragua back in 2009. In five seasons in the Braves’ farm system, he’s had a slash line of .259/.310/.381. Is that impressive? Absolutely not. How about his defense? Combined in 2012 and 2013, he’s committed 44 errors at shortstop.
It goes without saying that he’s destined for the minors for another year and stands no chance of making the major league club in Spring Training. While they did protect him from the Rule 5 Draft this past November, it’s likely because they see something in his future. According to MLB.com, the Braves did consider promoting him to the major league club last year when Tyler Pastornicky and Dan Uggla both got hurt.
This year, it will probably take another injury to give him an opportunity. He’s an average hitter with no pop in his bat and his defense is severely lacking. That’s the beauty of the farm system, however, and the feeling is that he’ll be going to double-A in 2012 to continue his work.
Aside from his lack of skill at this point in his career, there’s a player by the name of Andrelton Simmons currently playing shortstop for the Braves. It goes without saying, but Simmons is pretty good. Behind him, Ramiro Pena and Pastornicky will be fighting for a reserve spot on the bench. Even if his ability was up to snuff with the rest of the squad, Reyes would have one heck of a battle on his hands to make the roster.
The nice thing about Reyes’ situation is that there is virtually no pressure heading into camp. Nobody expects him to really do much, so any sort production out of him would be a pleasant surprise. Being able to take a loose mindset in Spring Training could translate into him performing better than expected.
He may still be a couple years away from making the big league roster, but keep an eye on Reyes this spring. He’s not a marquee minor leaguer for the Braves, but he’s getting his first crack at the big league squad. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be wearing a glass slipper in Florida.