Braves Warming on Gattis as Catcher?
The general opinion at the start of the spring was that Evan Gattis was ready to hit at the major league level at least enough to serve as the Braves back up catcher, but that his defense wasn't far enough along to allow it to happen. It seemed to be a shame too, as the right-handed hitting Gattis would serve as the perfect complement to the left-handed hitting Brian McCann, once McCann returns to action.
But the tide appears to be turning on the possibility of Gattis serving as the Braves backup catcher, writes Mark Smith of Capital Avenue Club, who says that Gattis' defense may be good enough to allow him to catch part-time. He has his concerns about Gattis, but they're not enough to rule him out just yet.
Gattis is still in the running for the backup job, notes Mark Bowman of MLB.com, and it's down to him and Matt Pagnozzi for the role. Gattis has had a great spring, hitting .358/.375/.736 and is clearly the better offensive option, but the decision will come down to whether or not Gattis can handle the responsibilities behind the plate.
Wacha to Start Season in Memphis
Despite an impressive spring, Michael Wacha was wisely sent to minor league camp by the Cardinals a few weeks ago. Now, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we know that Wacha will make his 2013 debut at Triple-A Memphis as a member of the Redbirds' starting rotation.
It's a big jump for Wacha, who threw just 21 innings in the minors last season and only eight in Double-A as a reliever, but he's been as dominant as you could ask for in both his minor league and spring training appearances and the Cardinals clearly feel he is ready for the test. More importantly, however, it means he will be just one step from the majors if the Cardinals find themselves in need of another arm.
Should the Cardinals need another starter, Wacha isn't necessarily the next option in line, even if he proves to be dominant in Triple-A this year. With Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal in the major league bullpen, the Cardinals have plenty options already in place in the majors that are ready to go.
But what is likely, however, is the possibility of Wacha working as a starter for the majority of the 2013 season in Triple-A, then joining the Cardinals major league bullpen for a run at the post-season, where his power arm could be an incredible weapon.
Wheeler Up When He's Ready, Not When Mets Need Him
If the decisions was based on the needs of the Mets right now, Zack Wheeler would already be in the major leagues. There is little argument that he is one of the five best pitchers in the organization. But he's not quite ready to be the best pitcher he can be just yet, and Andy Martino of The New York Daily News says that the Mets are going to wait until he's ready to call him up despite their desperate pitching situation.
If so, that's the right decision, and the Mets should be applauded for making it. It's easier said than done, as Mets starting pitchers are dropping like flies lately, but given that they are unlikely to compete for anything significant this year, filling in rotation spots with Quad-A-type pitchers isn't really costing them anything, especially compared to the potential gain of allowing Wheeler to properly develop.