Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Training Player to Watch: Jace Peterson

As spring training draws to a close I wanted to take a few days this week to look at a few players that Braves fans need to be paying attention to. The first guy is Jace Peterson, a 2B prospect from Lake Charles, LA. He's turning 25 this year, and I believe it's time for him to make the show this season.

The Braves traded for Jace in the much publicized Justin Upton trade. Last year in AAA ball, Peterson hit .306 with an .870 OPS. That's stout for a second baseman, a spot where the Braves don't have any current answers. Actually, that's a lot of spots, but I digress.

Upside to Peterson is that he gets on base at a good clip, doesn't strike out a ton, and he does have the speed to swipe a few bases. Downside? He has zero power. He's not hitting more than low single digit homers in the bigs, so don't worry about him as a threat. More upside though, he has the speed to leg out a double and get immediately in scoring position. He's certainly a top of the order guy, or maybe a potential leadoff candidate.

Here's the issue though, the Braves have a lot of 2B candidates. Peterson will battle Pedro Ciriaco, Jose Peraza, Alberto Callaspo, and Phil Gosselin for the spot. However, I think the youth and spring training play is giving Peterson the top nod. In training so far, Jace has an OBP of .442 with 13 hits and 11 Ks. He's getting on base a ton, and seeing the ball relatively well. Nobody else on the team is even close to those kind of on-base numbers.

The truth is that Peterson should be the opening day starter in my mind, and right now that's how he's put into the depth chart. So, if you're watching or listening to any more of the games before we get to the regular season, keep an eye on Peterson. Like Gattis was a few years back, he's been a spring training surprise that may get some extended time this year in a big-league role.

GO BRAVES!

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