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That whole "should the Braves call up Heyward and Freeman question" (again)

The AJC's Mark Bradley wrote a blog post today saying that "if the Braves fall out of contention, should they call up top prospects Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman." He says ordinarily the rule of thumb is "don't lose with seniors," which implies that the kids should be called up. But he seems to think they're not ready, stating that they're too young, not far enough removed from high school, and that they just simply don't need to be in the majors yet -- no real substantive reason is given. He just keeps saying they're not ready.

He says that "players will tell you when they're ready," but what part of hitting .422 for the better part of a month at double-A doesn't scream "I'm ready?" At some point this weekend Jason Heyward will reach his 100th at-bat at the double-A level. He will do so likely still hitting .400, still hitting for tremendous power, and still showing an advanced feel for baseball that has made him the top prospect in all of baseball. Did I mention that the Braves could use a hot power hitting outfielder.

The entire premise of Bradley's post is "if the Braves fall out of contention." Well, sometimes you use prosepects in trades, and sometimes you call them up to use them yourself. If a team doesn't have the confidence to call up a guy hitting .400 at double-A, then they'll never recall any prospect. And yes, even a 20-year old. Remember, the Braves had enough faith in Heyward and Freeman to push them to double-A at age 19, in the first place.

Heyward is ready. I don't know how you can say he's not ready. Do you want him to really prove it by continuing to hit .400 at double-A for the rest of the year? Move the guy up and see if he's up to the challenge of a higher level, he's obviously better than the talent at his current level. Move him up to the majors and see if he can handle it. The Braves have made no bones about calling up kids from double-A -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, Kyle Davies. Some of these worked out, some didn't, but none of them were as good, or were hitting as good as Heyward is right now.

The other thing that Bradley overlooks is that these kids could help the Braves "not" fall out of contention. The Baby Braves did it in 2005, and you have to give the best prospect in all of baseball the chance to help the team in 2009. All the adjusted statistics will say that Heyward can handle the majors. I say give him the best birthday present this Sunday and call him up to the majors. He's ready.

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