Peterson, EY could factor in Braves second-base situation

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Braves position players other than catchers aren’t due to report until Wednesday, but many are already in camp including three infield starters — Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, Andrelton Simmons – and two, Jace Peterson and non-roster invitee Eric Young Jr., who could compete for part-time duties at second base.

Assuming top prospect Jose Peraza doesn’t force his way onto the roster as opening-day second baseman – at this point, that seems unlikely — the Braves could use veteran Alberto Callaspo as their primary second baseman to begin the season. But the versatile former A’s infielder might also get some starts at third base against right-handers.

The speedy Young can play all three outfield positions, but came up as a second baseman. He only played five games at second in the past two seasons, but always took ground balls before games at second and other positions. Still, he seems more likely to make the roster as a fourth or fifth outfielder, perhaps in a left-field platoon with Jonny Gomes.

Peterson, 24, was a largely overlooked part of the four-prospect package the Braves got from San Diego for Justin Upton. The line-drive-hitting Louisiana native is comfortable at second base, shortstop and third base, and before getting 58 plate appearances in the majors last season he sizzled in the high minors, batting .307 with a .402 OBP in 86 games with 33 extra-base hits (six triples, three homers) and 16 stolen bases in Double-A and Triple-A.

“Have you shook his hand?” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked a reporter, who had. Peterson has a grip like a vice.

Another Braves believer: Count the rookie pitcher Mike Foltynewicz among the many Braves who've expressed a far different view of their team than what they're hearing from most media members and others including many of their own fans.

“I think we’re going to be good,” said Foltynewicz, a top prospect who’ll compete for the fifth-starter job. “We might be young and all that, but you’ve still got veteran guys that know what they’re doing. They’re just going to play ball, and in mind they’re going to be good. If I’m up there or not up there, they’re going to be good for a long time. They’ve got some dudes that can play ball.”