Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson is still in the early-stages of his development, so will he be ready for MLB stardom in 2018?
Regardless of the sport, the pressure of being the number one overall draft pick is an extremely heavy burden to carry. However, it’s not something that the Atlanta Braves are foreign to, as their 1st overall pick in 1992 turned out to be a one heckuva ball-player. Not to mention, you’ve probably heard of him – does Chipper Jones ring a bell?
As you may imagine, not only does being a number one pick come with insane expectations, but it doesn’t make things easier when a player like Jones is still the face of the Braves. That said, if there’s someone who can handle all of the high-hopes and expectations, it’s Dansby Swanson.
The former Vanderbilt University short-stop hasn’t quite become the elite player we’ve been waiting to see, but he has proven he can mentally-handle whatever the big-league game throws at him.
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There’s nothing like starting the regular season off in the bigs and having to be sent down because of your troubles at the plate. Not only is that extremely embarrassing, but baseball scouts will tell you that kind of disappointment can stay with players for years later.
Needless to say, Swanson took that moment in 2017 as a tough lesson-learned and came back to Atlanta with an improved approach at-the-plate.
According to Baseball Reference, when Swanson was called back up, he hit for a batting average of .268 through the months of August and September combined, whereas he was hitting a measly .212 when he was went down to Gwinnett.
Honestly, I don’t care that Swanson couldn’t pull that average up into the .300s – the most important thing for the Braves to see was how he would react to being sent down to triple-A. Not only did he pass with flying colors, but he proved that MLB stardom is just beyond the horizon.
That said, Atlanta fans need to stay patient with him moving forward. Hitting is one of the most-difficult things to do in all of sports, and not to mention, he only has 617 at-bats as a big-leaguer.
In due time, Swanson will become one of baseball’s elite players, but he still may be a few years away from achieving that goal. Until then, Braves fans can be confident they still have one of the more impressive defensive short-stops in the game.