Braves’ Bold Predictions: Dansby Swanson’s send off is a spectacular one

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This continues my series of bold predictions for the Braves 2022 campaign. If you missed any of the previous parts, click the links below.

Dansby Swanson

As a former #1 overall pick, Swanson hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but he’s taken substantial strides forward over the last three seasons. During the shortened 2020 campaign, he even led all shortstops in bWAR, and he followed it up with another very solid 2021. However, there always seems to be a feeling around Swanson that he could be a little more — like a breakout is just around the corner. If he could avoid that one month where he forgets how to hit, he would be considered one of the best shortstops in the game. I think that will happen in 2022.

I’ve always been more bullish on Swanson than most, but it’s because he’s shown us several times he’s a top-ten player at his position. Before a heel injury in 2019, Swanson recorded a .798 OPS with 17 home runs in 100 games. When he returned, he wasn’t the same player the rest of the season, but he looked like that guy in 2020, and outside of a slow start to 2021, he played All-Star caliber baseball.

For the first six weeks of last season, Swanson barely hit over the Mendoza Line. However, from May 18th on (119 games), he recorded an .805 OPS with 22 homers. There’s ample evidence over the last three seasons that Swanson is capable of posting an OPS above .800 while playing well-above-average defense at the shortstop position. That would result in an All-Star appearance, and I think that’s what we see from him in 2022.

I predict Swanson will make the All-Star Game and have the best year of his career. But in doing that, I believe he will price himself out of Atlanta. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the Braves will be receiving a hometown discount from Swanson. He has the same representatives as Freeman, and there’s a chance those negotiations ruffled some feathers. Given his inconsistencies at the plate and the questions about his long-term durability at shortstop, the Braves will likely refuse to offer him the lucrative extension he’s looking for, resulting in Swanson finding a new home.

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