Joc Pederson made his return to Truist Park this week and went just about as well as everyone would have imagined. One of the most beloved players in Braves history brought back the pearls for the first time since the World Series, received his ring to thundering applause from a sellout crowd, and even delivered a few flashbacks with a couple of home runs.
Thankfully, the Braves were able to pull out the series win, but Pederson also had some very fond things to say about everyone in the organization, including Dansby Swanson, who he called underrated.
Joc Pederson thinks Dansby Swanson is underrated around the league.@Kelly_Crull has the details ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/uowbYBoEQB
— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) June 22, 2022
Now, for anyone who has been paying attention this season, it’s hard to imagine Swanson being underrated, yet he still is. There are still people out there questioning whether he should be an All-Star, which is preposterous. He should be starting for the National League. He’s been the best shortstop in baseball season, and following his two home run performance yesterday, it’s time for him to be in the MVP conversation.
After a dreadful first few weeks to the season, Swanson has caught fire, and there’s no reason to believe he will slow down. In his last 34 games, he’s hitting .370 with eight homers and 25 RBIs. On the season, his average is now up over .300 and his OPS is closing in on .900. He is on pace for 25 homers and 25 steals, and that’s all while playing elite defense at shortstop.
Swanson ranks seventh in all of baseball according to FanGraphs WAR, and he’s tied for second in the National League, behind only Manny Machado. This is no longer a fluke; Swanson is an MVP candidate, and there’s something about his production this season that seems sustainable. Swanson has always been a streaky hitter, but never has he been this consistently hot for so long. Over his last 57 games, he’s hitting .338 with 12 homers — good for a .967 OPS. At this point, not only is Swanson underrated, he is the most underrated player in baseball.
Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire
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