The Braves shortstop situation hasn’t been talked about much after Vaughn Grissom began the Spring on fire at the plate. However, since those first few games, he’s cooled down tremendously. His job likely isn’t in jeopardy, especially since Orlando Arcia has been ice cold at the plate as well, but could there be a situation where Braden Shewmake enters his name into the hat?
Shewmake has been written off by many, myself included, and that’s understandable. He’s been downright pitiful at the plate since reaching the upper levels of the minors. In 2021, he recorded a measly .672 OPS in Mississippi. Not exactly what you’re expecting from a 23-year-old first-round pick.
The Braves opted to give him a promotion anyways going into 2023, and while he was better in Gwinnett, a .715 OPS is nothing to write home about. It looked as if he was heading for the bust title, but a hot start to Spring has provided a reason for optimism regarding his future.
In 21 at-bats, Shewmake has seven hits, leading to a .915 OPS. He’s also looked more than capable at shortstop, which was a concern when he was initially drafted. A lot of people believed he would have to transition positions, but that’s no longer the case. He has a future at shortstop, as long as he remains productive at the plate.
I’m not going to fool myself by thinking Shewmake is major-league-ready today. He’s most likely not a serious candidate for the Opening Day roster. With that being said, this is a critical year for his development, and there’s a real chance that an opportunity emerges for him in 2023. If Vaughn Grissom can’t handle the duties as the everyday shortstop, the Braves will be scrambling for an answer, and there’s a chance it’s right in front of them at the AAA level in the form of Braden Shewmake.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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