By Steven Whitaker @CoachStevenWhit on March 14, 2014
Just like every team has their successes in the spring, each team will have quite a few guys who have question marks going into the season. Usually, teams are happy to have players healthy going into the regular season, but some guys can only play so bad before teams become concerned with the play of some of their star players. In the case of the Atlanta Braves, some of those guys with poor starts are players that are key to the daily lineup.
Joey Terdoslavich has been cold since the beginning of spring. It's good for the Braves that he will most likely start the season as the fifth outfielder and not play a huge roll unless there is an injury occurs. To this point, he is just 4-26 (.154) at the plate. The good thing is he's putting the ball in play, striking out five times and walking six times. Hopefully he can turn it around before he is needed to fill in at some point this season.
The backup catcher is slated to most likely start around 60 games this season at catcher, if all goes to plan. So far, he's only managed one hit in 14 plate appearances. He has only struck out twice, which means he is putting the ball in play, but he needs more balls to find gaps if he wants to be a successful backup in 2014.
The team's likely fourth outfielder provided the team with a spark in 2013 when B.J. Upton was struggling at the plate. He's hitting just .200 this spring, which isn't nearly what the Braves want him to provide. He's struck out six times this spring, which isn't a bad number for the kind of hitter Jordan Schafer is. He does have two stolen bases, which the Braves want to utilize during the regular season.
Replacing Brian McCann behind the plate wasn't going to be easy anyways, and the way he started the Spring, he has a long way to go to fill the shoes. Hitting .206 (7-34) at this point, the most alarming thing about his performance is the number of strikeouts. He's been sent back to the dugout 10 times without making contact. If he can't make contact, he won't be able to hit all the home runs that the Braves hope he can in 2014.
The key to the Braves' fast start in 2013, he is not performing well to this point in Spring Training. At 4-25 on the preseason, Justin Upton has struck out six times with only one extra base hit. If his struggles continue into the regular season, the Braves' offense could be in some big trouble, as they will lack a hitter than can hit 2-5 with above average power. For the team to succeed, they need Upton to turn it around.
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