The Shanks Report - March 3

Chipper Jones

Bill Shanks has his latest thoughts from Spring Training.

* This morning on the main field at Disney Chipper Jones was taking infield at third base and took some swings in the batting cage. Chipper did not run to test out his hamstring and the Braves expect him to take it easy for a few more days to not jeopardize his spring training.

* While I had to stay behind at Disney to do my Macon radio show, reports from the coaches who were at Port St. Lucie said Jo Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, and Blaine Boyer all had good outings.

* So what's going to happen if Chuck James shows he's ready for Opening Day? Would Jair Jurrjens and Jo Jo Reyes both go to Triple-A? Maybe. James will get his first start next Thursday, unless he can convince the trainers and Bobby Cox to let him go even earlier. James says he's never felt better and is ready to test his shoulder in a game.

* Tyler Flowers continues to be the shock of big league training camp. Good for him. Tyler's a good kid. He's scheduled to go to Myrtle Beach, but it might not be out of the question to see him at Double-A this season. And if Mark Teixeira leaves next winter, could Flowers all of a sudden be a potential replacement at first base? Maybe.

* The Braves have brought Vladimir Nunez into minor league camp. Nunez saved 20 games for the Marlins in 2002 and pitched for Charlotte last year in the International League. Nunez turns 33 next Saturday, but he's still got good stuff and could be a nice backup option in Triple-A.

* I finally saw Ferdin Tejeda this morning. He was the six-year free agent pitcher signed away from the Yankees over the winter. He didn't have a great performance, but there is no doubt he's got pretty good stuff. I'm anxious to see if he'll be in the Myrtle Beach bullpen or pushed up to Double-A.

* The rest of the minor league pitchers coming in for spring training (other than the rehab guys or extended spring training pitchers) will be in Tuesday. The position players report on the 9th and the first full squad minor league workout will be on the 10th.

* The Samuel Sime kid is growing on me. He's got a chance to be Rome's third baseman. He's a rangy kid with a good swing and what looks like a plus arm at third base.

* I saw more of Jon Gilmore and Freddie Freeman hit today. Both really have a good idea of what to do at the plate. They're still raw and have a lot to work on as young kids, but there's great true potential there with both of them. Freeman reminds me of a Sean Casey type, while Gilmore sure does remind me of a young Kelly Johnson.

* I had an interesting comparison made to me today about Gorkys Hernandez. One coach said he thought of former Brave Gerald Williams when he see Gorkys play. Now you might be saying, 'well Williams didn't have a great career.' Well, it's simply a comparison of the type of player Gorkys might be, and at one time Gerald Williams was a pretty awesome young player for the Yankees. The coach believes Gorkys will generate more power as he matures, and there is no doubt Williams can run and field the position very, very well.

* Matt Kennelly, the young Australian catcher, has gotten bigger and looks more like a pro player. He's been in pro ball now for two years now, but Kennelly certainly is getting the body to be a serious catching prospect.

* Okay for those of you who did not hear my report on Julio Teheran on the talk show Sunday night, I will place some thoughs here as well. Teheran is pretty spectacular. You just don't see a 17-year-old have the ball come out of his arm like that very often. He's particularly comfortable in the minor league setting since his uncle is an important coach in Columbia (and a part-time scout for the Braves) and the kid has just been around the game. My words and description just does not do it justice. I'm going to try to get the video of him up before the end of the week and you guys can make your own assessment. He's special, though. Very, very special. If he stays healthy Teheran has got a chance to be a very interesting pitcher. The curve and changeup are as advertised: special. And his fastball? I can't imagine seeing a 17-year old in the states with that type of talent. It's like the buzz pitchers like Todd Van Poppel and Josh Beckett have gotten in past years as top draft picks. Where do you put this kid? Rome maybe? I think Teheran will stay in Extended and then by up by mid-May or early June to Rome and then who knows. It's not out of the question that Teheran could be in the Carolina League by the end of the season. Is it likely? Probably not. But with this type of talent, you can't rule anything out. Again, I want you guys to see the video. But for my money, if this kid stays healthy, there's no way he's still in the minors past 2011. No way. The Braves may have really found a gem here in Julio Teheran.

* Make sure you check out our audio interviews from Monday with Jeff Francoeur, Tyler Yates, Chuck James, Chris Resop and minor leaguers Jeff Lyman, Brandon Hicks, and Jon Gilmore.

* And don't forget our coverage from Spring Training Tuesday on 'The Bill Shanks Show' starting at 4 pm. Click here to listen live!


Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.


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