Bill Ballew

Last Chance

Bill Ballew -Premium Content

In the weeks immediately prior to the 2008 draft, Jordan Lyles looked through the pile of letters from major league clubs and knew he had a decision to make that had nothing to do with choosing between professional baseball and a scholarship to South Carolina. The 17-year-old high school hurler for Hartsville (S.C.) High, instead had to decide which invitations to pre-draft workouts he should accept in the days leading up to the event that could determine his fate for years to come.

Draft | #2009#Draft Dish

Native Son

Bill Ballew -Premium Content

Two things have defined the Braves' 10 drafts since Roy Clark became Atlanta's scouting director. He has followed Paul Snyder's preference for selecting young pitchers, and he's particularly fond of picking players who hail from the state of Georgia. Zeke Spruill fit that description on both counts.

Majors | #2009#Atlanta Braves#Organization Reports

Locked In

Bill Ballew -Premium Content

Growing up in New Hampshire, Jeff Locke had little choice but to follow the Red Sox. Ironically, the lefthander may have had his coming-out party against the team's high Class A Salem affiliate, a feat that included taking no-hitters into the seventh inning in back-to-back starts.

Majors | #2009#Atlanta Braves#Organization Reports

Coming Full Circle

Bill Ballew -Premium Content

The future became the present over the course of spring training for the Braves' center field situation. After Gregor Blanco spent most of 2008 in the middle garden in and Josh Anderson appeared to have an inside edge during the early days of camp, rookie Jordan Schafer put together his second straight memorable March to emerge the victor.

Majors | #2009#Atlanta Braves#Organization Reports

Pushing It

Bill Ballew -Premium Content

No one was generating a greater buzz throughout the Disney complex than first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward. Despite being invited to camp to simply get their feet wet in a big league environment, the hard-hitting 20-year-olds were attracting raves from coaches and players alike.

Majors | #2009#Atlanta Braves#Organization Reports

Ready For Work

Bill Ballew -Premium Content

The Braves believe Guy Hansen is the perfect piece to add to the organization's player-development puzzle. With the death of longtime pitching coach Bruce Dal Canton last fall, Hansen moves from the Triple-A ranks to high Class A Myrtle Beach, where his role will be redefined compared to his more recent contributions.

Majors | #2009#Atlanta Braves#Organization Reports