Braves 2023 FanGraphs Projections By Position: Shortstop

Vaughn Grissom

With MLB rosters nearly set as we approach Spring Training, I find it’s the perfect time to look at FanGraphs’ projections for the 2023 season. This continues my series, moving to shortstop, which is sure to be one of the most heavily scrutinized positions for the Braves this season after the club let Dansby Swanson walk in favor of Orlando Arcia and Vaughn Grissom. Below are the previous parts of the series:


To Braves Country’s surprise, Alex Anthopoulos has elected to roll with Arcia and Grissom at shortstop. Following the best season of his career, Dansby Swanson cashed in and signed a seven-year, $177 million deal with the Cubs. He was awarded All-Star and Gold Glove honors for his 2022 campaign as arguably the best shortstop in baseball. He slashed .277/.329/.447 with 25 bombs, good for a .776 OPS, adding 17 stolen bags. Swanson turned in a season worth the 12th-most WAR in baseball, and he’ll be replaced by a kid with 41 major-league games under his belt.

Grissom came out of the gate on fire, mashing his first career home run over the iconic Green Monster in his major league debut. In his first 26 games and 103 plate appearances, Grissom slashed .347/.398/.558 with five home runs and a .956 OPS. It was honestly unbelievable. However, over his final 15 games and 53 plate appearances, Grissom posted an unsightly .174/.264/.196 slash line. Regression smacked him right in the face.

Arcia played slightly above his career averages in 2022, which isn’t great but not horrible, either. The plan is simple: hope Grissom takes the reins with Arcia as a safety net. The veteran’s production is a high enough floor that the club wouldn’t take a huge hit at shortstop, but Grissom’s offensive pedigree is what excites people.

FanGraphs actually projects the Braves’ combination of shortstops to perform just slightly below Swanson in Chicago. The site projects 2.4 WAR from Grissom and 0.9 WAR from Arcia (18th) compared to Swanson’s 3.3 WAR (15th) projection. Here are their respective slash lines for the 2023 season:

  • Orlando Arcia: .249/.314/.407
  • Vaughn Grissom: .273/.335/.419
  • Dansby Swanson: .247/.310/.415 

As you can see, FanGraphs projects Grissom to outperform Swanson offensively and by a considerable margin. However, that’s not surprising. Swanson is a career 95 OPS+ hitter, while Grissom has raked at every level he’s been at. It’s never been a question of whether the kid can handle major league pitching; the concern arises with his defense at a premium position, replacing a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop.

Grissom will have a long leash as he acclimates to his new role as the starting shortstop of the Atlanta Braves, but this could be a decision that really bites Alex Anthopoulos in the ass if he doesn’t pan out. Ron Washington seems to think he will, though. 

David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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