Here’s what Braves fans can expect from Dansby Swanson

Once a Snake, now a Brave: Dansby Swanson. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Swanson was once a Snake, you know. (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Dansby Swanson is scheduled to make his Atlanta Braves debut tonight. He was the first player picked in the MLB draft in June 2015 — by the Diamondbacks, who kept him barely five months — and he has been fast-tracked for the majors since being traded here for Shelby Miller. (Who’s in the minor leagues. Imagine the wailing in Phoenix if Swanson goes 4-for-4 against the Twins.)

Although we shouldn’t expect 4-for-4. More like 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs and a stolen base and two runs scored — every single game for the rest of Swanson’s life. Yes, I’m kidding.

Not being a minor-league analyst, I can’t really assess what Swanson has done there. But folks who write for the two leading analytic websites can and have.

From Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs: “He’s a plus runner with terrific instincts on the bases and enough range for SS. His defensive footwork is exceptional … He has an above-average arm and I think he’ll be a plus defender at short despite lacking the explosiveness and acrobatics typically associated with that kind of glove at short.”

From Christopher Crawford of Baseball Prospectus: “He’s able to get to pretty much anything hit to either side. He also charges the ball well, and his above-average arm is accurate with a quick release. Is he Francisco Lindor (of Cleveland)? No. Is he a better defender than Alex Bregman (of Houston) and Brendan Rodgers (of Colorado)? You betcha.”

And Swanson the hitter?

Crawford: “He’s a smart, selective hitter, and while he will never be among the league leaders in walks, he’ll draw his fair share. There’s enough strength and leverage here to project some power, but the swing is conducive to hitting line drives, so expecting more than 45-grade pop is expecting too much.”

Longenhagen: “Offensively, Swanson’s footwork is minimalistic and plain … Swanson’s power comes almost exclusively from his hands and bat speed, which can only do so much on their own. While he has average raw power, Swanson only projects to hit for 45-grade game power unless we see substantial mechanical changes.”

If two opinions can constitute a consensus, these kind of do — excellent if not spectacular defender, good arm, fast runner, line-drive hitter. (As for the 45 grade: MLB scouts have 80 as their maximum in all categories, and almost nobody gets an 80 in anything.)

OK. Caveats?

Longenhagen: “Beware of fatigue … Swanson has played 105 games this season, easily the most of his career. He played 71 at Vanderbilt last year and 22 more at Low-A, but those pro appearances came after a lengthy rest due to a broken face. Since Swanson has passed that 71-game threshold this season, he’s hitting .252.”

Crawford: “There are reasons to be hesitant about saying he’s ready to contribute offensively. There’s been a lot of weak contact since his promotion to the Southern League, and there are still some adjustments being made in terms of pitch recognition … All that being said, this is one of the best prospects in all of baseball, and the ceiling and floor are both extremely high.”

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
DrTruth
DrTruth

So Matt Kemp (and Markakis) just cleared waivers.  So much for John Hart's "first piece in 2017 roster build", right?  Only took 3 weeks to realize they made a mistake when some of us realized it immediately.  What a complete joke....

basilisk4
basilisk4

@DrTruth I don't think you understand how August waivers work.  All or nearly all of the Braves' players will be on waivers by the end of the month, in an effort to disguise the players they actually want to slip through to trade.  The Braves aren't trading Kemp this season.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@basilisk4  Of course they're trying to trade Kemp.  Are you serious?  Did you see him drop the routine fly ball the other night that allowed 2 runs to score?  He hit 23 HRs in 100 games with SD this season.  He's hit ONE in 18 games with the Braves.  He has a -0.4 WAR with the Braves.  All of this for $18 MIllion/yr.  To say he's been a disappointment would be an understatement.  Why would you even think they want to keep him?


They've obviously realized their mistake and it has nothing to do with playing games with August waivers.  They took a $28.5 Million mistake and traded it for a $54 Million mistake.  And you're just kidding yourself if you don't think Kemp is gone if they get any interest AT ALL from a team that will provide a prospect or 2 and eat some of that humongous salary.


You're probably correct....the Braves aren't trading Matt Kemp this season.  But only because they can't find a FOURTH FO dumb enough to take him and his salary....

LifeIsAPeach
LifeIsAPeach

I like the guy.  The question is whether the Braves like him TOO much. Just because he's a hometown boy doesn't mean he's a hometown hero.

TideDawg
TideDawg

There's no questioning that Swanson can hit a baseball. The question is, can he adjust when pitchers find a weakness in his swing, and they will find a weakness. Working the count to his favor will help force pitchers to bring the ball back into his zone. Laying off the weak zone pitches takes time. You only need to watch Francoeur. When he's behind in the count you know exactly where the next pitch is going to be....down and away in the dirt or up in his eyes with a fast ball. He can't lay off those pitches. If Swanson can't adjust, he's never going to be what the Braves and Fans hope he will be.

TideDawg
TideDawg

The "non baseball savvy" writers will have Swanson in the Hall of Fame tomorrow. I hope Swanson doesn't read the headlines.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Aybar was batting ,242 and had a .607 OPS (next to last in MLB) and he was dumped.  In his last 21 games at MS, Swanson's batting .229 and his OPS is .629 at AA.  Adrenaline will get him through the first few games.  If fatigue is affecting him, it will eventually show up.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@DrTruth He's 23 yrs. old. If he's getting fatigued it's because he's found the ladies on Peachtree, drinks too much, eats the wrong kind of food, stays out late, etc. Is Freeman fatigued? Maybe! I would have traded Aybar for a 50 yr. old mule. I wouldn't think that adrenaline would last more than one inning. It sorta comes and goes.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@TideDawg @DrTruth I kinda agree with you about Aybar. The 1st half of the season he was terrible. But the last month or so, he is hitting pretty decent while giving a decent D! But he made a DUMB mistake trying to extend a double into a triple recently with no one out and Freeman on deck in the 9th inning. I guess even vets make dumb mistakes at times? But he needed to be moved, at least we got something in return!

TideDawg
TideDawg

@DrTruth @TideDawg Adrenaline can pump you up, it can also wear you out. It sounds like you probably know that. It's too bad that athletes can't call up that adrenaline anytime. Good point about Freeman. It was an odd game for a short stop. I don't think there was a ground ball hit to him all night.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@TideDawg  Dude said he was playing on 4 hours sleep.  It was a good first game for him.  Seems like Aybar was getting hammered with a dozen grounders some nights and DS doesn't get any tonight.  That really was weird.

Unfortunately Kyle Gibson's complete game and the Braves dreadful bullpen kind of put a damper on tonight's debut.  Let's see what happens in the next 4 games with the Nats....Should be fun to watch for a change!

TideDawg
TideDawg

@DrTruth @TomGaff It wouldn't surprise me if the Tigers came back and asked for more after he plays a few games.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@TomGaff  One report I read said the Braves sent about $1.5 Million to the Tigers with Aybar.  So yeah, we got something in return but it wasn't "free"...

DrTruth
DrTruth

@TideDawg Longenhagen specifically stated that Swanson's 105 games this season is a career high, compared to 71 games last year.  That's where the fatigue may be affecting him.   Freeman missed a grounder last night that he normally gloves in his sleep.  Not sure if that's fatigue or not.  It was scored a hit, but he still looks like he could use a night off.

Expect Swanson's adrenaline to be pumping every time he steps up to the plate and with every ball hit in his direction for at least the first few games.  He might even be bouncing around in the dugout in between innings.  It's as big a deal for him as Braves Fans.  I just hope it isn't too much too soon.  In any event, it's something to look forward to late in a lost season.

basilisk4
basilisk4

@TideDawg @DrTruth @TomGaff Aybar is a terrible fielder -- this year and historically -- and he was a bad hitter this year in spite of recovering to be mediocre the last few weeks before being traded.  Also, the money the Braves sent in the deal is less than Aybar was owed for the rest of the season.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@basilisk4  OK....If that makes you feel better about replacing Andrelton Simmons with Aybar in the first place.

Clint_Reno
Clint_Reno

Braves would have around same record if Fredi stayed. Why? All the coaches under Bobby Cox still play his brand of baseball. Does not work in MLB anymore. Really hasn't since 1999. Hope we get a a manager  that has no connection to #6 so fans can finally get a new taste of baseball in Atlanta.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Clint_Reno One thing I'll say for Snitker.....He doesn't just sit there on his arse and let a reliever get into trouble and see a winnable game get lost.  Cox in particular was notorious for just sitting there and refusing to admit he'd made a bad relief decision when a guy clearly didn't have it that night.

Snitker used 6 relievers to get 10 outs last night.  O'Flaherty came in and touched Kepler's jersey on his 3rd pitch and was yanked.  All he can do is bring them in and take them out.  If they come in and give up walks, hits & runs, then that's on the pitcher.

In this aspect alone, I've seen Snitker win games late and out-manage other managers who brought in relievers they left in that let the game get away for good.  While I sometimes question his lineups, he's definitely better than Cox at using the bullpen....And Cox always had a better bullpen than Snitker has available.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Clint_Reno I disagree, for whatever reason they have played around .500 ball for Snit! He deserves serious consideration for 2017? But we will never win consistently with AAA type pitchers? You never know what game to expect from night to night? Good or poor?

Savga13
Savga13

@Clint_Reno I agree!  Not only a fresh start in the new park next year, but a new manager and completely new staff.  It is a shame the Braves could not have gotten Joe Maddon.

Roymus
Roymus

Only thing I'd like to know is:  how did he break his face?

Old Dude1947
Old Dude1947

With all the hype surrounding Swanson's arrival, I feel entitled to my 2 cents worth.  I expect him to play out the season in a Braves uni, hit about .250 and make an acceptable amount of errors for an infielder.  that is what I EXPECT.  Last weekend, the Yankees called up local boy Tyler Austin (Conyers, GA) for his first appearance in the big leagues and had the same expectations.  He hit a HR in his first AB and is batting .375 for the week.  When fellow rookie Arron Judge hit a back to back HR behind Austin, announcers immediately announced the Yankees were turning a page in Yankee history.  I don't know if the Braves are turning a page ...seems all year they have been flipping thru the catalog ...  But, I will be happy if Swanson just settles in comfortably, stays healthy and reports to Spring Training ready and eager to play ball next year.  As for next years' expectations, for the Braves as a team, well, better than this year ...maybe .500 but not the playoffs.  Still, I do give them permission to surprise me.


"Old Dude, before you go ...if the Braves do surprise you, will you go to see them play in the new stadium?"


Not likely.  When they move out of the city, they are no longer relatively well located for me to travel to a game.  But they won't miss my puny contribution at the gate.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Old Dude1947 Yep.  You're getting old dude when you start asking yourself questions in second person in your blog posts....and then you answer them.