The Braves are purportedly planning on shopping longtime starting second baseman Dan Uggla this offseason, and according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, they’ll move him if they can find a suitor who will take on six of the 26 million dollars left on Uggla’s contract. Despite his struggles over the last couple of seasons, a second baseman with Uggla’s power has the potential to be a major bargain at three million per year, meaning he’ll like be moved. With no viable candidate on the major league roster, infield prospect Tommy La Stella is the heir apparent.
Whereas some guys earn their prospect status just based on projectable tools, La Stella earned his through gaudy statistics and a thorough thrashing of the minor leagues. The 24 year old second baseman garnered a promotion to Double-A after just seven games, thanks to a .550/.690/.750 batting line in High-A. Then he tore up Double-A hitting .344/.422/.473 with 21 doubles and more walks than strikeouts in 81 games. Although not a scout’s dream, he has a line drive swing, a good eye at the plate and a decent glove at second, making him a legitimate option at second for any big league club.
After missing parts of 2013 season due to injury, La Stella looked to make up for lost time and audition for a 2014 roster spot in the Arizona Fall League. His performance will certainly prompt a callback in 2014 as La Stella has done to the AFL what he did to Double-A this past spring and summer. His .500 OBP and 1.122 OPS are among the tops in the league and his 11:1 walk to strikeout ratio is far better than that of any other player in professional baseball (admittedly, this is partly due to a considerably small sample size)
Hitters like this simply don’t pop up on the middle infield and next year, he’ll join Freddie Freeman in one of the best and youngest right side of the infields in Baseball.