As promised, I turned the interview table on Carlos Collazo, blogger at Tomahawk Take, and asked him four questions about the Atlanta Braves. Collazo’s answers were shocking, thrilling, and other over-dramatic adjectives. But there’s only one way to find out for sure…(after the jump).
Berkon: Is there any sense of disappointment among Braves fans due to the “light” off-season?
Collazo: From what I have read through various comments, tweets, messages, and other Braves writers yes there is a pretty big sense of disappointment with our comparatively light off season. Personally, I feel like everyone is overreacting but it’s hard to blame them after the collapse we went through last season. Most feel like our offense just isn’t enough to compete within our own division and they doubt that our players (McCann, Heyward, Prado) will bounce back and provide above average offense. There’s also a lot of criticism for Tyler Pastornicky which again is understandable seeing as he hasn’t played a lot at all at high MiLB levels and is being thrown into a starting job.
B: Braves management seemed eager to replace the young Yunel Escobar with veteran Alex Gonzalez. Does it bode well for rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky?
C: The only reason Yunel was traded for Alex Gonzalez was his attitude in the club house. At the time he was one of the top young shortstop talents. He excelled on the field, and showed some real potential offensively even though he had been struggling at the time. The Braves were headed for the playoffs and felt that a veteran presence to captain the infield was more important than dealing with a prima donna, albeit a talented one. Pastornicky shouldn’t worry too much about being traded this year. If he struggles and doesn’t seem to be improving as the season goes on he will be sent to triple A and Jack Wilson will take over. At that point however he will have some stiff competition from Andrelton Simmons, who is absolutely fantastic defensively (great hands, cannon of an arm, used to pitch…) and if he can even become an average hitter will take over for Atlanta in the future.
B: Which young Braves starting pitcher should the NL fear the most in 2012–Brandon Beachy, Randall Delgado, Mike Minor, or Julio Teheran?
C: They can’t underestimate any of these guys because they all have the potential to be top to middle of the rotation arms. I would take Teheran an Delgado out right away simply because they won’t get as many innings as Minor and Beachy without an injury occurring. Between Beachy and Minor I will have to go with Beachy because of his excellent command and stellar strike out rates. They are probably going to drop this year but 141 innings with a K/9 of 10.74 and a BB/9 of 2.92 is eye opening. His fastball is better than originally thought and he isn’t afraid to go up and challenge hitters, which is a great thing to see in a young pitcher. He needs to work on going deeper into games however.
B: How much confidence do you have in Jason Heyward rebounding?
C: I am extremely confident in a bounce back year from Jason Heyward. I think his down year was due largely to shoulder issues throughout the season and hitting coach Larry Parrish. Both will be gone at the start of the 2012 year and so we should expect more #1 pick production from him. However if he wants to reach all of his potential he has got to stop hitting so many ground balls and take advantage of that power. In 2010 he hit 55.1% ground balls and 53.9% in 2011. He’s never going to be a middle of the order hitter if more than half of his contact goes straight to the ground.