Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/16/14

With each passing day, it becomes more likely prospect Tyler Pastornicky will open the 2012 season as the starting shortstop for one the National League’s best teams. As the Atlanta Braves continue their careful transition from present-to-future, providing a defensive anchor at shortstop will be key as the organization’s strength is in its young pitching.

However, for as good as Tyler Pastornicky was in 2011 across the double-A and triple-A levels, his success as a big leaguer is far from a sure thing. And this is what makes a scouting report on Pastornicky difficult to write. Was he young for the level of competition? Yes. Were his offensive numbers strong? Certainly, but Pastornicky does not scout as well as his age and overall offensive numbers would indicate. This is why it’s important to be blunt in stating I like the young shortstop more than most, but can already envision this piece being perceived as overly negative when compared to the notoriety Pastornicky has gained this off-season as a potential shortstop of the future for the Braves.

Video after the jump

When reflecting on Tyler Pastornicky, the phrase, “jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind as a fitting description. Quite often, this type of skill set leads to a long career in the major leagues, but not necessarily as a starter which is the sentiment amongst contacts in the industry. However, I saw a shortstop who projects as a capable second division starter, but not a player good enough to truly stake claim to the title, “shortstop of the future” for the Braves, or any organization for that matter.

In game action, Pastornicky showed a strong aptitude for contact and the ability to drive mistakes. The compact right-handed hitter appears to have a strong understanding of his strengths and plays to them by utilizing a short, level swing plane. By keeping his hands inside the baseball quite well, Pastornicky is capable of using the entire field, spraying hard ground balls and line drives consistently in the dozen or so at bats witnessed over the course of the 2011 season. Mechanically, Pastornicky would benefit from quieting the extra wiggle in his pre-swing load and timing mechanism. As a sign of growth, recorded at bats from later in the 2011 season did indicate improvement in that area.

However, Pastornicky appeared to cheat a bit against better velocity which major league pitching is better equipped to exploit than anything he faced at the double-A and triple-A levels. Having played the season at 21, Pastornicky has plenty of time to tweak and develop his approach, but it’s something worth monitoring. Additionally, he did hit a long home run to left-centerfield off of a Kenley Jansen hanging slider displaying the ability to identify and sit back on mistake pitches at times. Should added consistency come with age, then Pastornicky could push double-digit home run totals annually – especially if his he becomes more selective early in the count and learns how to identify pitches to drive.

On defense, Pastornicky showed the ability to consistently handle routine plays when scouting him at the double-A level. His range and arm strength were more on the average side so utilizing proper angles on the infield to cut off ground balls will be important to his defensive development. For me, the trademark of a shortstop at the minor league level who projects well on defense is the ability to make plays deep in the 5/6 hole and Pastornicky was not tested in that way. However, I have my doubts as to whether he has that ability based on the sum of the defensive pieces I was able to scout. One thing working in his favor to counter my argument is the fact I pulled a 4.0-4.05 home-to-first time from video which rates in the neighborhood of a 70 on the 20/80 scale.

Having also scouted Pastornicky early into his triple-A career, I perceived a general lack of confidence in working with new infield partners. On a few “tweener” ground balls, Pastornicky pulled up a bit hesitant instead of projecting as the leader on defense a shortstop needs to be. It’s not really a big deal considering his age and the overall dynamics of integrating into a new team, but worth mentioning as most other true shortstop prospects I’ve scouted do project an aura of confidence as if they own the playing field, but their other teammates are simply renting a piece.

In struggling to find a strong comp, I keep coming back to Pastornicky scouting similarly to Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart with a bit less pop and better speed. However, Cozart was 23 in double-A in 2009 when Pastornicky pushed through the same league at 21 which points to the potential for a higher ceiling in the end. With a 4.2 WAR Fans projection for Cozart though the combination of solid, but unspectacular offensive numbers and above average defense, the formula for Pastornicky to replicate and make doubters look silly is laid out in plain sight.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Fans struck by lightning after Buccaneers-Packers game

Report: Philip Rivers playing through painful back injury

Report: Bears could have interest in Jim Harbaugh

Report: Shanahan interested in coaching next season

Report: Michigan has its eye on several NFL coaches

Report: Titans, Jay Cutler have mutual interest in trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Phillies GM told Ryan Howard team is better off without him

Report: Browns interested in drafting Marcus Mariota

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

WATCH: Dominic Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

WATCH: Arian Foster throws TD pass, drops scoreboard taunt

WATCH: Johnny Manziel leaves with injury after taking big hit

NHL has warned 22 players about diving

Nick Mangold wears NYDP hat to honor fallen officers

Five things we learned from the first day of bowl games

WATCH: South Alabama coach bloodied after kick to the face

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

Bears interested in Jim Harbaugh?

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.