One of my bold predictions entering this shortened 2020 campaign was that Dansby Swanson would do enough to earn a contract extension this offseason. Through 54 of 60 games, I’d say he’s done just that — both with the stick and his glove.
Swanson’s mired in a nasty slump over the past ten games, resulting in just 3 hits in his last 40 at-bats (.075 average). His season average has dropped nearly 40 points over that stretch, but he’s still hitting the ball hard, and if the season ended today, he’d set career highs in nearly every offensive category. But when you’re playing shortstop, the most important defensive position on the diamond, offense often is not the most critical aspect of your game, and Swanson’s proven to be a wizard with the glove.
With just six games remaining, Swanson has only made one error, and according to FanGraphs, he leads all shortstops in defensive runs saved (DRS) and is currently third in all of baseball in that category.
Dansby Swanson No. 1 among shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved, Carlos Correa No. 2. https://t.co/nN7qdCL7uc
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 22, 2020
I always find it quite amazing how they manage to quantify an individual player’s value defensively. However, advanced metrics aside, the simple eye test is enough to gauge just how reliable Swanson has been with the glove. He is far from the most talented player at the position; he doesn’t have the best range or the best arm. However, Swanson has clearly put in tireless hours of work on his defense, and his strides in that area are just another reason why the Braves should extend him this offseason.