With his work at the Winter Meetings in Nashville over, Braves general manager Frank Wren, along with manager Fredi Gonzalez, decided to take a trip to the Caribbean to get a glimpse of his Dominican players in action.
In four days in the Dominican Republic, Wren, Gonzalez, and assistant general managers Bruce Manno and John Coppolella watched prospects Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran pitch, and saw third baseman Juan Francisco and catcher Christian Bethancourt take some swings, in the Dominican Winter League. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wren was happy with what he saw, especially from Delgado and Teheran.
"They both threw the ball well," Wren told Braves beatwriter Dave O'Brien. "They've been getting better and more consistent since the beginning of the winter league."
Delgado and Teheran will likely be in a heated competition to be the Braves' fifth starter. The loser could end up going back to Triple-A or even traded, as the Braves seek to fill vacancies in left field and possibly the infield. Delgado threw five innings, allowing two runs, with his fastball reportedly hitting 96 mph. Teheran pitched exceptionally, striking out eight in six scoreless innings, with no walks and just one hit allowed.
On the offensive side, Wren and Gonzalez got a look at Francisco, who is penciled in as the starter at third base for the time being. Francisco has hit well in winter ball, with a .315 average and seven home runs in 29 games. Bethancourt, meanwhile, is in the running for the second catcher spot, after last year's backup, David Ross, signed with the Red Sox in November. He's hitting .231 in 20 games of action.