Braves: Major Leaguers that impressed during Spring Training

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Spring Training was cut short thanks to the inconvenience of the Coronavirus, which will soon put most of the nation in a state of quarantine. As far as baseball goes, we’re looking at a May start at the earliest (I tend to think a July beginning is more realistic). Hopefully, I’m wrong, but to take our minds off things a bit, let’s talk about some of the guys who made the most out of this spring.

Peter O’Brien

Let’s start with someone who has been around the block a bit. O’Brien is your prototypical AAAA player — a guy who has thrived in the minors but has yet to make it in the majors. Unfortunately, he’s running out of time. The former second-round pick by the Yankees is now 29 with stops in Arizona and Miami over the last four years without much success. O’Brien impressed with his power, smashing four home runs in 31 at-bats — the most on the team. However, he showed many of the same problems that have hindered him from making it in the majors, striking out 13 times. O’Brien won’t make the Opening Day roster, but he will serve as quality depth down in the minors if a multitude of injuries struck.

Adam Duvall

There’s going to be a battle for the final roster spot whenever this season does start, and Duvall hasn’t been guaranteed anything. But after the way he finished last year and this spring, he’s all but sealed his place on the team, going 9-for-29 (.310 average) with three doubles.

Johan Camargo

The third-base battle was going to come down to the wire. I’m not sure how it’s going to end now, given the circumstances, but both Camargo and Riley were excellent this spring. The former had 8 hits in 29 at-bats (.286 average) with two doubles and a homer.

Austin Riley

Might as well follow with Camargo’s competition. The end of Riley’s rookie season went about as poorly as it could have possibly gone, but I am far away from giving up on the former top prospect. Eventually, he’s going to work out the kinks, and we’ve seen just how good he can be when he’s going hot. If this spring was any indicator, 2020 is going to be a monster year for the 22-year-old. He hit .357 with an OPS north of 1.000 and a couple of home runs and also only struck out five times.

Felix Hernandez

Nobody knew what to expect when Felix Hernandez signed a minor-league deal with the Braves. The 33-year-old hasn’t been his Cy Young self for a few years now. He can’t pump the gas like he used to (his fastball now sits in the high-80s), but he flashed some nasty offspeed stuff that should be enough to earn him a place on the roster. However, things could change now that the season will start in the summer, and Cole Hamels should be healthy by then, leaving one rotation spot open instead of two.

Sean Newcomb

If Hamels is able to make a full recovery, and there is only one rotation spot up for grabs, it will be either Hernandez or Newcomb, but I’d have to give the edge to Newcomb since he’s much more a part of the Braves future plans. The hard-throwing southpaw threw nine innings this spring, allowing just two earned runs and striking out ten.

Chris Rusin

Rusin, the lefty reliever, has made a case for a place on the roster this spring, appearing six times (8.2 innings) and giving up just two runs while striking out 12.

Touki Toussaint

After a rough 2019, Toussaint will probably begin this season in AAA. We are all well aware of his sky-high potential. I still think he’s going to be a starter, but he could play a role in the rotation or as a reliever for the Braves this season, depending on how things shake out. Technically, Toussaint isn’t a prospect, but at just 23, it’s best to act like he still is one because he could breakout out any year now. The right-hander threw 8.2 innings this spring and allowed just two runs.

Luke Jackson

If you’re still hating on Luke Jackson, you just don’t watch the Braves. The sliderman was the best reliever in the bullpen for Atlanta last season (there is no debating that), and he was on fire this spring, striking out ten in just five innings and allowing no runs.

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