Jose Constanza beat out Gwinnett’s Matt Young for an outfield spot on the International League all-star team last season. Now both are part of the Atlanta organization.
Constanza is one of five players signed recently by the Braves as minor league free agents and all are likely to start next season with the G-Braves after getting a look in major league spring training. The others are catcher Wilkin Castillo, shortstop Ed Lucas, third baseman Shawn Bowman and relief pitcher Jay Sborz.
Constanza, 27, hit .319 and stole 34 stolen bases last season for Columbus in the Cleveland organization. That was enough to be out Young, who hit .300 and led the International League with 39 steals.
Young, 28, earned a spot on Atlanta’s 40-man roster with his strong season for the G-Braves and will compete for a major league spot next spring. Promoted to the major league roster with Young last week was reliever Cory Gearrin, who also spent all last season in Gwinnett.
Castillo, 26, will likely take the place in Gwinnett of Parkview graduate Clint Sammons, who became a minor league free agent after hitting just .188 last season. Castillo played briefly with Cincinnati in 2008 and 2009, and hit .256 with nine homers last season for Louisville in the IL.
Lucas, 28, batted .307 with 13 homers for Omaha in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League last season while in the Kansas City organization. Bowman, 25, hit 22 homers and had a .263 average in the Class AA Eastern League for New Hampshire, a Toronto affiliate.
Sborz, 25, was 1-6 with a 4.74 ERA, but had 19 saves in 43 games for Detroit’s Toledo team in the IL last season. He was a second-round draft choice of the Tigers in 2003.