LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Braves always like as many of their young pitchers as possible to master the change-up, and manager Fredi Gonzalez noticed several throwing the pitch more effectively during the first week of workouts.
While early arriving Braves position players took batting practice against coaches with fans in the stands at Champion Stadium, Gonzalez spent the mornings roaming the backfields and watching the pitchers throw live batting practice to catchers.
“Saw some good changeups,” he said. “Even Jonny Venters was throwing some good ones. Some of the younger kids, like [Arodys] Vizcaino and [Jaye] Chapman, have pretty good ones.”
Vizcaino, a strong candidate for a bullpen job, is one of three Braves pitchers – along with starters Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado – rated among the top 100 prospects in baseball by most experts. He impressed in a callup last season.
Chapman, 24, has risen slowly but steadily through the farm system and posted a 2.50 ERA in 52 games last season at Double-A and Triple-A, with 77 strikeouts and 31 walks in 68-1/3 innings. He had a 2.98 ERA in 43 games at Triple-A Gwinnett.