The Atlanta Braves know that Chipper Jones only has so many games left to play. While the veteran third baseman has already announced that he will call it quits after the 2012 season, there are still potentially upwards of 162 games to play that'll need someone at the hot corner.
Joe Terdoslavich burst onto the scene last season as he dominated High-A ball as a 22-year old. "Terdo", as his teammates and coaches affectionally call him, posted an impressive slash line of .286/.341/.526 and belted 20 homers. Regardless that he was a year or two older than the rest of his competition, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.
With Terdoslavich making the transition to third base in 2012 -- a position he was played sparingly throughout his career -- most figured he would begin the season at Double-A Mississippi.
On Sunday, we learned differently.
Excited to be starting in Gwinnet this year. Excited for the season to start— Joseph Terdoslavich (@JoeTerdoslavich) March 25, 2012
This news coming from Terdoslavich's Twitter account.
So why the jump all the way to Gwinnett?
For one, I have to think the Braves realize that Chipper Jones may be very limited in 2012. The 40-year-old will already miss the beginning of the season and anything more than 100 game appearances this season will probably be considered a successful campaign. That means a lot of time at third base for Martin Prado, which severely weakens the outfield both defensively and at the plate.
The club is very thin in terms of third base depth and J-Terd is the only player even close to being ready for the Major Leagues. It's time to see if he is for real, or if his successful 2011 season was due to weaker competition.
The other reason for the promotion is likely because the Braves feel, with Terdoslavich being an older, polished hitter, that the time is now for his make-or-break year. There will be a huge hole to fill at third base in 2013 and nothing would make general manager Frank Wren's life easier than to pencil in Terdoslavich from the early going. And if he struggles mightily in the coming months, then Wren knows he is going to have to look outside the organization for a possible replacement.
This should be a very interesting year for Terdoslavich and he has a chance to become the third baseman of the future in Atlanta. He will need some time -- the jump from A+ to AAA is going to be very difficult to overcome at first -- but this may just end up working out for the Braves.
Or it could be the prime example why very, very few players, regardless of stats or potential, can make the jump from High-A to Triple-A baseball in a matter of months.