The Braves saw dansby swanson leave in free agency this winter. As a result, they will enter the season with something of a question mark at shortstop for the first time in six years.
As it is, shortstop looks like a two-man battle between a young infielder vaughn grisson and utilitarian orlando arcia. Grissom, 22, is ostensibly the organization’s shortstop of the future. He only has 41 MLB games under his belt and has some doubts about his ability to handle the position defensively, as many prospect evaluators have suggested he’d be a better fit at second base or left field. Arcia has a much longer MLB record but owns a modest .243/.295/.369 line in just under 2,200 plate appearances in his career.
veteran shortstop elvis andros he remains unsigned and would seem like a viable fit on paper for an Atlanta team now winning in a competitive division. However, there is no indication that the Braves have explored the possibility of adding a backup shortstop. Atlanta has placed a decent amount of trust in its highly touted young players in recent seasons, and president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos expressed optimism about internal candidates over the weekend.
Anthopoulos acknowledged that some have defensive concerns with Grissom, but noted that highly respected infield coach Ron Washington has offered strong criticism of his offseason work. “I can see how the scouting community might have questions about Vaughn. I had questions about Vaughn when I first saw him.Anthopoulos said (link via Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “And I have been wrong many times. The difference is we have a guy in Ron Washington who is amazing with this stuff. I wouldn’t say something just to say it. … And, look, we don’t know how Vaughn is going to hit. He has to earn the job. Orlando Arcia can do it too. But Wash really believes in Vaughn. We also believe in Vaughn, but we’re going to go with who we think is the expert in that area, and I don’t know anyone better in the game than Ron.”
Certainly, the Braves would love to see Grissom take the position early on. The right-handed hitter impressed during his first major league break, hitting .291/.353/.440 with five home runs in 156 plate appearances. He displayed an aggressive approach but quality bat-to-ball skills. Grissom played primarily second base with Ozzie Albies injured last season, and public defensive metrics painted him a couple of runs below average in 347 innings of work.
Albies will return to the cornerstone, while austin riley He has third base secured. The only non-shortstop position in the lineup unresolved is left field, where a hodgepodge of players led by eddie rosario seems to be competing for reps. Captain Brian Snitker stressed over the weekend that Grissom would not step into the corner outfield during the exhibition game as the club views him solely as an infielder (via David O’Brien of Atletico).
Arcia, 28, is a lower-value veteran reserve. He is coming off the best offensive performance of his career in a part-time role, hitting .244/.316/.416 with nine home runs in 234 plate appearances. That was her first above-average cut line of her seven major league seasons. Arcia made hard contact in a career-high 42.5% clip to collect 18 extra-base hits in 68 games. It was a good year for the 28-year-old to at least put himself in the mix at shortstop if Grissom falters, though his modest career record at the plate raises questions about whether he could sustain his 2022 production for a full time. year of shortstop daily reps.