It’s hard to see much room in an Atlanta outfield that includes the likes of Jason Heyward, the Upton brothers and maybe even a few spot starts of Evan Gattis, but Joey Terdoslavich is a name that could make its way into a Braves box score or two this upcoming season.
Terdy has mashed his way up, down, then back up the Braves farm system ever since Atlanta selected the Long Beach State Dirtbags’ first baseman in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB draft. In 2011, the first full season of his professional career, he smacked a Carolina league record 52 doubles for High-A Lynchburg to go along with 20 home runs and .286 average. Seen as one of the more promising bats in their system, the Braves transitioned him to third (to theoretically replace a retiring Chipper Jones) and promoted him right to AAA-Gwinnett the following season.
Then the wheels came off.
Through 53 games Terdoslavich slashed an anemic .180/.263/.515, with just eight extra base hits in 194 at bats. The paltry performance pushed him out of the prospect landscape and down to AA-Mississippi. While the gap power and average resurfaced for the M-Braves (24 doubles and a .315 average in 78 games), the homer pop (only five during the Southern League stint) seemed dead and buried in Lynchburg.
The second time around the International League proved to be a bit more fruitful for the fallen star. With 44 extra-base hits, a .318 average in 321 AAA at bats, Terdy earned a big-league promotion in July when Jordan Schafer was lost to an ankle injury. While he scuffled a bit against major league pitching (.215/.266/.581), his ability to play all four corners helped him carve out a bench bat job for the Braves postseason run. Terdy earned a Spring Training invite this season, and his brief stint with the club in 2013 combined with a successful minor league track record should help him break camp with the Braves.
While he doesn’t draw the same kind of crowd that Tommy La Stella or Christian Bethancourt, there’s still a potential .280, 20 homer hitter in Terdy’s bat should he find his way into regular at bats. The Braves have committed a lot of money to Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Jason Heyward, and Chris Johnson proved to be an on-base machine from the hot corner last season, but Terdoslavich’s ability to play all four positions well also helps his case for sticking on the roster and contributing this season. No, the numbers didn’t exactly jump off the page in his 2013 cup of coffee with the club, but he’s shown the ability to adapt over time to better pitching and should do so again in 2014.