By: Austin Davis
Dansby Swanson, former #1 overall pick, could be one of the most important players in the Braves success over the next decade.
The hometown kid was the first pick out of Vanderbilt in 2015, taken by Arizona. He was in their system until that December, when he was a part of one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory. He made it up to AA before being called up on August 17, 2016. He went 2-4 and hit .301 in 38 games. But since then, he hasn’t performed to the original expectations. He’s hit .235 with 242 strikeouts in 280 games. He’s had hot streaks, and always maintains a high level of defensive play, but other than that, he’s mediocre at best.
However, the Braves and their fans have a special attachment to Swanson. He’s from Marietta, not far from Atlanta. He grew up a Braves, Falcons, and Hawks fan. He has a clothing line, All Things Loyal (ATL), where he donates all proceeds to Atlanta charities. It would be very hard to get rid of Swanson, and it would be met with a lot of backlash despite his poor performance. However, it may have to be done. The Braves have much better hitters in veteran Johan Camargo and prospect Austin Riley. So, let’s look at the options.
OPTION #1: Super Utility Man
Dansby has the speed, athleticism, glove, and arm, to play anywhere on the field. The Braves should seriously consider this, as it would keep the fans happy, and give another solid off-day option to compliment Charlie Culberson. And, if someone gets seriously injured, Dansby could easily fill in. Maybe he’ll hit one of his hot streaks while he’s in regularly.
OPTION #2: Trade Him
This, as a Braves fan, is the worst option. He’s a hometown kid, I don’t think there’s anyone more excited about being a Brave than Dansby Swanson. He does so much for the community, and everyone really just loves him. But, baseball is a business, and winning brings in money, and if Swanson inhibits the winning, he’s out. The Braves may even do that this off-season, using him as a piece in a potential trades for JT Realmuto or a solid bullpen arm. It sucks, but this might be reality for the Braves.
OPTION #3: Change Nothing
Dansby at short. Camargo at third. Acuña in left. Markaikas in right.. This does almost force the franchise to trade Austin Riley or Johan Camargo, and in the unlikely situation they do, they could both bring in hauls. But there’s not much more to say, this probably won’t be the case for long, if even at all.
Options 1 and/or 2 make the most sense for the Braves. It’s going to hurt for the fans, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the greater good, and to end the now 23 year World Series drought.