On Wednesday, a dream became reality for Tommy La Stella. The 25 year old second baseman woke up in Pawtucket, just hours after collecting his first home run of the season for Triple-A Gwinnett. La Stella was summoned to manager Brian Snitker’s room at the team hotel, and got the news he’s been waiting his whole life for. “Snit called me up to his room this morning and told me I was going down the road.” Down the road meaning Boston, where the Braves were getting ready to open another two game series against the defending World Series Champs. La Stella’s father and sister had traveled to watch his Minor League Games, but plans quickly changed. His mother and sister also flew up to Beantown to watch Tommy go 2-for-4 in his Major League debut.
The call up of La Stella meant the demotion of infield Tyler Pastornicky to Gwinnett. The move came nearly two years to the day (May 30, 2012) that the Braves brought Andrelton Simmons up from Double-A Mississippi. Pastornicky just so happened to be the odd man out of that transaction as well.
What can we expect from this La Stella kid? First and foremost, he brings a much needed contact hitter to the lineup. Atlanta has plenty of power, but is in desperate need of a guy that can put the ball in play or work a big walk. He also helps balance out a righty-heavy lineup that has had tremendous success against left handed starters. Through his first five Major League games, Tommy is hitting .400 with three multi hit games. While he's not expected to bring much power, he does bring a guy who rarely ever strikes out and can put the ball in play, something this lineup was searching for.
How about his defense? La Stella made 40 starts at second base with Gwinnett and made just two errors. He told me during Spring Training that his defense is an area he has worked extremely hard to improve on. He will get every opportunity to do so at the Major League level.
Kevin McAlpin covers the Braves for the @BravesRadioNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinMcAlpin.
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