Braves said to be relocating Matt Lipka to outfield
Shortstop James Kang (2) of the Greenville Drive is out at second base as shortstop Matt Lipka (5) of the Rome Braves turns the double play in the second inning of a game on July 18, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Rome beat Greenville, 7-3. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta Braves tested out 2010 No. 1 pick Matt Lipka in the outfield during this fall’s Instructional League play in Florida.
O’Brien reported on his Twitter feed: “Took to it well, impressed. Will play CF in ’12 in minors.”
The Instructional League is a chance for young prospects to get some additional training end experience in a Spring Training environment in Florida after the regular Minor League season ends. Very little official news comes out of these sessions. The Braves have not commented on their website.
Lipka is highly regarded by the Braves, as you would expect of any top draft pick, but the team has a line of good prospects waiting for a shot at the shortstop job, which is where Lipka has been playing.
Lipka played for the Rome Braves this year in Class A, and appeared in several games at Fluor Field against the Greenville Drive.
Atlanta called up their top shortstop prospect, Tyler Pastornicky, when rosters were expanded at the end of this season. However, O’Brien has also reported that the team will be looking for a one-year veteran at short in 2012 until Pastornicky is ready for the starting job.
Atlanta also has another highly regarded shortstop prospect in the minors, Andrelton Simmons, who played this year in High A Lynchburg of the Carolina League. At the end of the season he was named one of the league’s Top 20 prospects.
And if you want to go deeper into the Braves farm system, they also have rookie Danville shortstop Brandon Drury, who was named to the Appalachian League Post-Season All-Star Team this year and was named the league’s Player of the Year.
So that kinda gives a hint of what Atlanta is trying to do with Lipka.
Infielder/shortstop Andrelton Simmons (33) of the Lynchburg Hillcats, Carolina League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, prior to a game against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on June 15, 2011, at City Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. Simmons was a second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)