The Dansby Swanson era in Cobb County has been put on hold, for the time being. The Atlanta Braves optioned the young shortstop to Triple-A Gwinnett late Wednesday evening.
The #Braves have optioned Dansby Swanson & Aaron Blair to Gwinnett. Corresponding roster moves will be announced before the game on Friday.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 27, 2017
Dansby Swanson Optioned to Triple-A
This move was disappointing to some, inevitable to others. Swanson is a fan favorite not only because he’s from Marietta, but also because he played college baseball in the heart of SEC Country – that carries a lot of weight around these parts. That said, the Vanderbilt product ended the day hitting .209 with a sub-600 OPS. The truth is that Swanson has struggled for most of the season after bursting on the scene last September.
A demotion to Triple-A from the big leagues can seem like a death certificate to a player’s career. Sometimes that’s true, but not so in this case. As a matter of fact, Swanson came to the big leagues directly from the Double-A level. Because he advanced through the minor leagues so quickly, now he has the opportunity to take a step back and breathe.
This is important because the minor leagues offer the opportunity for players to work on their craft without being under the watchful eye of 40,000 fans and the Atlanta media every night. He can work on taking balls the other way against a prospect, rather than somebody like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer. There have been several cases recently of top prospects coming back and performing after demotions (Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas immediately come to mind).
Not the only elite shortstop in town
The demotion does, however, bring to light several options for the Braves’ front office moving forward. Swanson’s situation is somewhat unique because he isn’t the only elite shortstop in the Braves’ organization. Johan Camargo, frankly, made it very difficult for Swanson to stay in the lineup every day. The 20-year-old Ozzie Albies has settled in after struggling to start the season in Gwinnett, slashing .281/.327/.442 in 92 games.
If John Hart and John Coppolella do have doubts about Swanson being the guy, they could decide to move him for several pieces (which is unlikely, but this front office certainly isn’t shy about entertaining offers). With Brandon Phillips and Matt Adams’ futures in Atlanta likely not extending beyond 2017, they could also keep him and bank on the future Braves’ infield consisting of Camargo, Swanson, Albies and Freddie Freeman. Only time will tell.