Non Roster Invitee: Jason Heyward – Braves

With the names of Scott Proctor, Freddie Freeman, and Mitch Jones as non roster invitees to Braves camp I could see four or more making the major league roster at some point. Though none with have near the amount of talk around them as baseball’s top prospect Jason Heyward.

Heyward is supposed to save the Braves offense much the same way people said Tommy Hanson would change the rotation which was odd considering the Braves had one of the best rotations in baseball with or without Hanson last year. I personally found it hard to believe that Heyward might start the regular season with the club but midway though Spring Training I have to admit that he should be on the roster.

Of course then finding at-bats may be though for all of the guys the Braves plan to throw out in the outfield. While McLouth is certain to be in center the Braves figure to run Matt Diaz, Melky Cabrera and Omar Infante at the corners. Throw in Heyward and we are going to have some guys disappointed with their at-bat totals.

Truth be told though the ability of Heyward far exceeds anyone the Braves have for any of their outfield positions, Diaz is more of a platoon/pinch hitter and Cabrera couldn’t even make a mark for himself with the Yankees. Infante is better suited for spelling infield then outfield and while Gregor Blanco and Jordan Schafer are still with the organization they are afterthoughts.

At 20 years of age Heyward is as exciting as they come. He’s hit and hit well at every stop on his rise though the Braves system. Some think some time at Triple-A may do him well but there’s no arguing with the numbers he produced between three levels last year. (.323/.408/.555, 17 HR, 10 SB)

Some have gone as far to say that they believe Heyward is a 25-30 home run player this season in the majors and while I think that’s a little far fetched all he has to do is make an impact above that of Melky Cabrera to justify him being on the big league roster.

Thus far this spring Heyward is 8-for-18 with a homer, four doubles, 5 RBI, 5 runs scored and two stolen bases.

It’s certain (barring a major injury) that Heyward will be on the Braves roster at some point this year. Just when is the question.

Non-Roster Invitees
Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
74 Erik Cordier R/R 6-4 230 02/25/86
33 Mariano Gomez L/L 6-6 240 09/12/82
72 Craig Kimbrel R/R 5-11 205 05/28/88
73 Mike Minor R/L 6-4 205 12/26/87
36 Scott Proctor R/R 6-1 195 01/02/77
39 Chris Resop R/R 6-3 220 11/04/82
Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
22 J.C. Boscan R/R 6-2 215 12/26/79
57 Orlando Mercado R/R 5-9 210 03/13/85
76 Braeden Schlehuber R/R 6-2 205 01/07/88
75 Jesus Sucre R/R 6-0 200 04/30/88
Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
70 Freddie Freeman L/R 6-5 225 09/12/89
69 Brandon Hicks R/R 6-2 200 09/14/85
7 Joe Thurston L/R 5-11 210 09/29/79
Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
18 Brent Clevlen R/R 6-1 205 10/27/83
71 Jason Heyward L/L 6-5 240 08/09/89
77 Cody Johnson L/R 6-5 235 08/18/88
30 Mitch Jones R/R 6-0 215 10/15/77
78 Matt Young L/R 5-8 175 10/03/82