Minor League Report: Jason Heyward

Minor League Report: Jason Heyward

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Since arriving in Braves Minor League camp this week, Jason Heyward has been turning heads. As long as he remains a physically imposing specimen, this is something he won't be able to avoid.

"He stands out in almost any room," general manager Frank Wren said of Heyward, who was selected by the Braves with the 14th overall selection in last summer's First-Year Player Draft.

Wren was with the Expos when they took Cliff Floyd with the 14th overall selection in the 1991 Draft, and he sees plenty of similarities in the younger version of Floyd and Heyward. Both are physically gifted with athleticism you might not expect from players who are that size.

"They look very similar," Wren said. "They're great athletes who are strong and imposing. They're very different than most guys."

Heyward, who can only hope to avoid the many injuries that have plagued Floyd's career, is targeted to play one of the corner outfield positions for Class A Rome this year. After signing late last year, he had the opportunity to play just 12 total games in the Gulf Coast League and with Rookie Level Danville.

Other than trying to discipline his swing in the same manner they would any other young player who might show a tendency to be pull-happy, the Braves don't have any special mentoring plans for the left-handed Heyward. They're just looking forward to seeing what he becomes.

"You don't know exactly what they're going to be," Wren said in reference to players gifted with great size. "But you know it's going to be imposing."

Newcomer to watch: There aren't a lot of people who know a lot about 17-year-old right-hander Julio Teheran, who signed with the Braves on July 2 last year and then only pitched in the instructional league. But those who have seen his live right arm know he's not just an average talent.

After watching him pitch for the Braves in the instructional league last year, one American League scout labeled Teheran "the best arm he'd seen" regardless of age. With an easy arm, the young teenager is already being clocked in the 91-94 mph range.

Teheran appears to have the stuff to potentially be a future ace at the Major League level. His curveball and changeup are both considered to be advanced.

Power arm: Since being selected by the Braves in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft, Michael Broadway has consistently showed a live fastball and regular inconsistency. Late last season, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander smoothed his delivery and realized results during the instructional league.

Spring Training
News and features:
• Braves' McCann on Smoltz, Glavine  400K
• Mark Bowman on Hampton  400K
• Bowman on Hampton's status  400K
• Bowman on Santana reax  400K
• Diaz on avoiding arbitration  400K
Spring Training info:
MLB.com coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

Blessed with a fastball that has been clocked at 97 mph, Broadway will likely begin this season in a relief role for either of the organization's Class A teams (Rome and Myrtle Beach). In 96 innings for Rome last year, he surrendered 125 hits and issued 33 walks against just 50 strikeouts.

Still a month shy of his 21st birthday, Broadway still has time to improve his command and take advantage of his great physical skills.

Big league help: Former Major Leaguers Chris Chambliss and Lynn Jones have both joined the Braves organization to provide some assistance on the farm this year. Chambliss, who played in Atlanta from 1980-86, will serve as Triple-A Richmond's hitting coach.

Jones, who played eight seasons with the Tigers and Royals, will serve as roving Minor League instructor who will aide in the areas of baserunning and outfield play.

Former top pick: Eric Campbell, the Braves' top selection in the 2004 Draft, has impressed some Braves personnel with the maturity he's displayed during his first few days in camp. Too often throughout his career, the 22-year-old third baseman's work ethic has been questioned.

While hitting 14 homers in just 298 at-bats with Class A Myrtle Beach last year, he showed he still has great power potential. But his .221 batting average was certainly cause for concern.

Class of '07: The club attempted to improve its corner infield depth by selecting third baseman Jonathan Gilmore and first baseman Freddie Freeman with two of its top four Draft picks last year. Freeman, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound first baseman, hit six homers and tallied 30 RBIs in 224 at-bats with the Gulf Coast League team.

Gilmore, who is a highly regarded third baseman, hit .284 with one homer in 162 at-bats with the GCL team.

What they're saying: "For some reason, he just could never grasp that he's got some of the best stuff in the organization." -- Braves catcher Clint Sammons, on Charlie Morton, who has quickly evolved into one of the organization's top starting pitching prospects

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.