Braves have power, speed in non-roster invitees

Catcher J.C. Boscan and seven others signed to minor-league free agent contracts were invited to major league spring training, including a speedy former Indians prospect and a former Royals farmhand who can play a handful of positions.

Boscan was a feel-good story in 2010, when he made his big-league debut at 30 after 14 seasons in the minor leagues.

Others on the list were infielders Shawn Bowman and ex-Royals prospect Ed Lucas, outfielders Brent Clevlen, ex-Indians prospect Jose Constanza, and Wilkin Ramirez, catcher Wilkin Castillo, and right-handed pitcher Jay Sborz.

Boscan, Clevlen and Ramirez re-signed with the Braves after becoming six-year free agents. Ramirez, who turned 25 three weeks ago, came from Detroit in a July 31 trade and hit .234 with 23 homers and 70 RBIs in 121 minor league games, including .253 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 24 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Constanza, 27, hit .319 with eight triples, a .373 on-base percentage and 34 stolen bases in 2010 for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus affiliate. He has a .365 OBP and 210 stolen bases in 657 minor league games over six seasons.

Lucas, 28, has a .286 average and .362 OBP over seven seasons in the Royals organization, and last season hit a career-high 13 homers with 50 RBIs in 99 games at Triple-A Omaha while spending time at second base, third base, shortstop and left field.

Bowman, 25, is a former Mets prospect who spent last season in the Blue Jays organization and hit .269 with 22 homers and 70 RBIs between Class-A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire

The Braves are expected to invite other minor leaguers to major league spring training, including top pitching prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado.

49 comments Add your comment

Feeanch

November 29th, 2010
5:28 pm

A meaningless first?

wjones

November 29th, 2010
5:38 pm

Pretty cool that they invited TWO players with the first name of “Wilkin”. We HAVE to lead the league in THAT category!

JD

November 29th, 2010
5:39 pm

Good to see some of these guys get the invite to play with the big guys this spring. Would be nice to see someone like a Costanza crack the lineup, perhaps he could punch up an otherwise listless 2010 outfield. I sincerely hope J-Hay is looking at early season video versus late season video this winter, he lost some pop in the bat – or perhaps just got tired – late in the season….

JBG

November 29th, 2010
5:42 pm

Hope Jose is better than his brother George!

NaHe5

November 29th, 2010
5:43 pm

A meaningless 2nd?….hahahahaha. Don’t feel bad, you’re not the only one who reads the reports on minorleaguers, etc.
Anyway, history has shown that these so-called ‘minor’ signings and invitees are exactly the guys who have somewhat magically appeared from nowhere to assist the Braves in many different situations! Be it at the beginning of the season when that oh-so-important 25th man/bench player is chosen to fill the roster coming out of Orlando, or during the season when the flu or injury bug has bitten and we need that spark plug with ‘no name’ to suddenly show up and light the fuse for this team!
This is the MOST frustrating time of year for me….right before the meetings in December that sees so many BIG ticket items going from team to team! I look several times per day looking for news about my team, and get very tired of seeing the same old articles that have been posted for a week or 2! But when the dam bursts, it BURSTS! SUddenly we have so many articles to read, we can’t find enough time in the day to get to all of them…..THAT’S when I get pumped for the next season to get cranked up!
Bring on Spring training….can’t wait! WIsh I could make it to FL next Spring to catch a game or 2….gonna try, but that old ‘job’ thing seems to always get in the way….hahahaha!
GO BRAVES….BRING ON THE SPRING GAMES!!!

Bill

November 29th, 2010
5:52 pm

meaningless 6th…thanks for up-date…hope the boys of summer had a great thanksgiving and getting ready for ST. Looking forward to a great year with the Braves.

Bill

November 29th, 2010
5:59 pm

Sounds like Lucas could be our Bill Hall…hope so!

DOB you need to change the picture…you got Carroll still up.

Constanza would add that speed we so need.

Frank Wren

November 29th, 2010
5:59 pm

I invited Sborz cause I like his name.

Paul Hewitt

November 29th, 2010
6:02 pm

I hope the Braves invite me to Spring training because I will be out of work by then.

Willy

November 29th, 2010
6:06 pm

I hop at least one of these pans out

Willy

November 29th, 2010
6:07 pm

Nice Job DOB!

Billy Jack's Barbecue & Shrimp

November 29th, 2010
6:19 pm

How about inviting Jamie Moyer? He could fill the 6th/spot starting role and serve as an active player – coach. Pluse he is about my age. Come eat at Billy Jack’s. Our beef brisket and ribs are great and that is no bull.

JC Boscan III

November 29th, 2010
6:26 pm

While it might seem unimportant, having strong depth at AAA can be crucial. Having a mix of speed and power would be nice, so some of these guys sound like good pick-ups. It would be nice to see our major league roster upgrade its speed and basestealing ability (Matt Young, maybe?). It should be interesting to see who earns the 11th and 12th spots on the pitching staff. Hopefully, they’ll play bigger roles than Bobby Cox gave them, so that Venters, Moylan and the rest don’t burn out by September!

Marty

November 29th, 2010
6:32 pm

DOB – I can’t tell you enough how much i enjoy and look forward to these posts. My favorite parts are anything that seem to be “inside” information.

the cox man

November 29th, 2010
7:02 pm

anybody know why yasser gomez hasnt been invited to spring traning. thanks for any info

NW Florida Fan

November 29th, 2010
7:48 pm

Bring back Timmy Collins! We sent him to KC in the Ankiel trade.

Asheville Dawg

November 29th, 2010
8:14 pm

Doldrums of December are almost here. No college football, of course it really ended for me in mid-October. Can not look at college basketball til mid January, after the bowl season.
Thank god for the Falcons playing well, and the up coming spring training start in February.

[...] week the Atlanta Braves signed four Minor League free agents and it was believed that the four will be non-roster invitees. Today according to ajc.com’s [...]

StingerSplash

November 29th, 2010
9:01 pm

DOB, you sure look a lot like Carroll on the front page of ajc.com/sports next to the Braves blog entry.

jason

November 29th, 2010
9:01 pm

cmon get an outfielder. If u go for justin upton i will respect wren even more

JC Boscan III

November 29th, 2010
9:09 pm

Regarding Yasser Gomez, he hit .323 at AA in a little over 100 ABs, but out of his 41 hits, he had 38 singles and only 3 doubles (no triples or homers). (That was against AA pitching, not AAA). So, he’s been a singles hitter so far. Plus, he was caught stealing on 3 of his 4 attempts, so speed isn’t his thing either. Maybe once he adjusts to playing here rather than in Cuba, he’ll show more extra base hit potential.

Braves Fan Since "80

November 29th, 2010
9:09 pm

What happened to Andy LaRoache??? I wonder if a year between the minors and Atlanta would help him regain the stroke he had as a rookie in LA……. His defense still seems solid and he was a decent first baseman…… He is better at defense than Hinskie…… (if Hinskie is not resigned- hopefully he will be) I see him as a chipper replacement if Prado performs well in left and an opportunity to earn the job for a couple of years if his hitting comes back…..

jimmymack

November 29th, 2010
9:52 pm

santa please give me a cf who bat’s lead off ‘hit’s 300 and steal’s’s 50 bases

ray

November 29th, 2010
10:24 pm

Sborz was an early 2nd round pick of the Tigers in 2003 from a Va. HS. Braves passed him up to grab Atilano (with Nats now) and Saltalamacchia (with red Sox) in sandwich round. The Tigers nabbed him in round 2 before the Braves grabbed local guy Paul Bacot, and the one and only Jo Jo Reyes.
Like Reyes, Sborz is more a thrower than a pitcher. If you throw enough mud, some may stick.
another great draft by the Braves and Roy Clark (good riddance)

Sportsradio PD

November 29th, 2010
10:35 pm

bar b q dude is right

bravesfaninNashville

November 29th, 2010
11:19 pm

It seem like Prado leading off with Chipper right behind him will give the Braves a lot of base runners ahead of Heyward, Uggla and McCann. Chipper has such great bat control and will probably get a lot of fastballs as they don’t want to get behind in the count on him because it could start a big inning. I see a lot of well placed hits similar to 2009 batting title year. He won’t be counted on to drive the ball out of the park just use his skills to move runners up and get on base. He can still be very effective at that. That sets the table for the middle of the lineup. I bet Chipper hits close to .300 and scores 80 runs or more. His RBI total won’t be high but he’ll be a big reason we score runs. This will allow Nate and our rookie 1B Freeman to relax and play good defense and try to contribute at the plate occasionally. I’ll bet Nate hits .270 and has 15Hrs and 60 RBI’s. If he can to that and play respectable defense and steal a few key basis for us that leads to some important runs scored he’ll be an asset. With our pitching and top six in the lineup we should be in most games. It’s going to be a fun year to be a Braves fan. I’m looking forward to our two future starting pitchers being invited to big league camp. It will be good to see them take another step forward.

retire chipper

November 29th, 2010
11:58 pm

if chipper would just retire already the braves are being nice letting him hang around unlike smoltz it would open budget can u say crawford

yogi2

November 30th, 2010
2:12 am

Maybe now the Braves will release Brooks(hands of stone)Conrad and Jordan(the Drugster)Schafer. I hope that Freddy G. won’t be burdened with this Garbage!

Joe

November 30th, 2010
2:51 am

David,
Any word on whether the Braves will attempt to re-sign Clint Sammons to a minor league deal?

justin1

November 30th, 2010
8:58 am

i dont really like Chipper hitting 2nd. Prado is your prototypical two hole hitter. What we really need is a true leadoff man. Ill say it like many others before me. We need Ellsbury.
Ellsbury
Prado
Chipper…yes still 3rd
Uggla
Mac
Heyward
Freeman
Gonz
Bench: Diaz, Hinske, Diory, Ross, Mathers, Schafer, Conrad, Young

stew

November 30th, 2010
10:45 am

Isn’t Prado the best leadoff hitter we’ve had recently? His average came down once he shifted to the three hole. If he didn’t miss so many games, he might have scored 115-120 runs. This is the job of a leadoff hitter TO SCORE RUNS. It is not to be fast or steal bases or get on base or hit for average or power. SCORING RUNS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION OF A LEADOFF HITTER AND IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW IT HAPPENS.

hAL

November 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

i agree stu only speed makes scoring runs happen easier and more often lol

Boomer Sooner

November 30th, 2010
1:04 pm

I wonder if Costanza plays in all cotton jerseys?

GT Alum

November 30th, 2010
1:22 pm

stew -

Prado’s a fine leadoff hitter, but, as justin1 said, he’s the prototypical #2 hitter. That doesn’t mean he can’t handle leadoff, just means he’s even more ideally suited to the 2nd spot in the lineup.

Besides, getting a high OBP hitter with speed on the bases to put in front of Prado shouldn’t really hurt Prado’s ability to score runs, and should give him more opportunities to drive runs in. It also would make the lineup deeper, allowing us to move Heyward farther down in the lineup into more of a RBI position.

I don’t see it happening this year, unless someone just falls into our lap, but I hope Wren can replace McLouth with a CF with leadoff capabilities before the beginning of the 2012 season.

bascogcjs

November 30th, 2010
1:45 pm

bravesfaninnashville, hitting .270 with 15HR’s and 60 rbi’s for Nate the carnival act would NOT be an asset as you call it.
When you make the salary that Nate makes, then those figures you suggested woul be more like a burden than an asset.

wjones

November 30th, 2010
2:45 pm

“yogi2

November 30th, 2010
2:12 am
Maybe now the Braves will release Brooks(hands of stone)Conrad and Jordan(the Drugster)Schafer. I hope that Freddy G. won’t be burdened with this Garbage!”

You probably were happy with Conrad before the playoffs; I daresay if not for some of his hitting heroics during the season we might have not even MADE the playoffs. Not to mention he is dirt cheap for a reserve. At worse case, option him down at the start of the season if the roster is too crowded, but bring him up when needed.

huh

November 30th, 2010
3:32 pm

justin1: If they were to end u with your line up and bench they would only be carrying 9 pitchers. . . .. I don’t think that is going to get it done.

GT Alum

November 30th, 2010
4:18 pm

bascogcjs -

Nate’s going to be making the same salary whether he hits .150 with 2 HRs, .270 with 15 HRs or .330 with 30 HRs. Yes, that salary is likely to be a burden for us this year. I think what bravesfaninnashville is trying to say is that those are realistic numbers that Nate could put up that would make him a real contributor on this team.

Also, honestly $7M for an OF who’s been in the league the years McLouth has and puts up those numbers isn’t that bad. Juan Pierre just made $7M to hit .275 with 1 HR and 68 SB. If McLouth gets a number of SBs and provides good power with a 270-280 avg, that’s really not bad. Guys like Werth, Dunn and Crawford are likely to get twice what McLouth will make in 2011. Coco Crisp got $5M to hit .280 with 8 HRs and 32 SBs. Granderson makes $5.5M and has hit .270 with about 15 SBs a year, and has only broken 20 HRs once. Victorino made $5M and hits .280 with about a dozen HRs and 30 SBs.

Melky Cabrera

December 1st, 2010
12:37 am

am i invited to spring training?

justin1

December 1st, 2010
9:53 am

Yeah basically what I was saying was, sure Prado hit well leading off, but thats just cuz hes a pro hitter who could really just about hit anywhere in the lineup. But he would be better suited hitting second cuz he handles the bat so well. Heyward is the absolute worst option for the 2hole. He needs to be batting 6th this year.

justin1

December 1st, 2010
9:55 am

Yes, Huh, youre right. I was just naming some guys not really counting. But I think Schafer does need to get a spot. If we can get him going, look out weve got a superstar

Heisenberg

December 1st, 2010
1:42 pm

So we can imagine Boscan has a great spring and makes the team. Now with 3 catchers, can Ross be the right handed occasional 1B option. DOB all but ruled out Diaz for that role yesterday. I believe there is a need for a right handed backup at 1B. If not Diaz then why not Ross. With a 3rd catcher on the roster, we could get more use out of Ross bat.

Secretone

December 1st, 2010
1:56 pm

Cox is gone !!! Pendleton has switched to fielding coach !!! These two moves will help the Braves immensely. Terry was not only a poor batting coach but was harmful !!! Thank the good lord he did not get the manager’s job. That was my greatest nightmare. Better days are ahead. I still wish Diaz was plugged into left field full time. We will likely lose him and will wonder why he is so outstanding with his new team.

Jack G

December 1st, 2010
5:50 pm

Football is ending and Baseball hasent started yet.

Bring on the dancing girls while we wait.

Booby Cox

December 2nd, 2010
3:17 pm

Constanza hit .320 with 34 steals at AAA??? What position does he play, we could use that since we have no speed, & btw, HELLO Newman! lol

NORRIS

December 3rd, 2010
11:39 am

PODSEDNIK!!!

K with a K

December 3rd, 2010
2:48 pm

This would be my bench…Ross,Hinske,Diory,Matt Young, Lucas, Mather

ShakeWeightSally

December 3rd, 2010
4:59 pm

Might as well invite Cream Freeeesh! Ah fu*& yeah!

Jack J.

December 8th, 2010
9:04 am

Constanza is an of; has good numbers at AAA, so throw him into the competition with Mclouth, Schafer, and let the Braves be the winner of who gets the job! and then leave the winner alone and see if we have another Hayward, we can keep our fingers crossed to see the Braves strengthen their roster!

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