This is the fourth part of a series where I will be evaluating the long-term outlook of the Braves at each position. In this piece, we will be focusing on one of the positions with the cloudiest futures. Alex Anthopoulos could go in several different directions, and I think we could get some answers soon after the lockout ends. If you missed any of the previous parts of this series, click the links below.
I’ve actively campaigned for the Braves to re-sign Dansby Swanson, who is set to hit free agency after next season. The former #1 overall pick has made substantial strides over the last few seasons, and I believe his best baseball is in front of him. However, it’s unclear whether the Braves are committed to him long-term, and Swanson might want to test out the waters of unrestricted free agency, fetching the most lucrative contract possible. There’s a high possibility the Braves are in the same situation with Swanson next offseason as they are with Freeman right now. And just like with Freeman, I’m not sure there are better options out there that they can afford. It makes sense to bring Swanson back long-term, but the price must be right.
Grissom’s one of the most intriguing prospects in the Braves organization. Everybody who pays attention to Atlanta’s farm system should have an eye on him. As a 20-year-old, Grissom hit .311 for the Augusta Green Jackets, earning a promotion to High-A Rome to end the season, where he was even more productive. In 12 games for the Braves, he hit .378 with a 1.114 OPS. It’s a small sample size, but at this rate, he’s well on his way to being a top-five prospect in the organization and potentially the future starting shortstop in Atlanta.
I included Shewmake in the piece on second basemen because I think it’s likely he serves more as a utility player in the majors rather than a shortstop, but there’s still a chance he could play some short at some point in his career. And who knows? Perhaps he could be the successor to Dansby Swanson. He’s undoubtedly more MLB ready than Grissom at this point, and maybe his struggles at the AA level last season are a thing of the past.
Spencer Shwellenbach and Ambioris Tavarez
Shwellenbach pitched and played shortstop in college. It’s unclear how the Braves see him as a pro, but he just underwent Tommy John surgery. That makes me think they view him as a pitcher, but we won’t know until later on. Tavarez was the Braves’ first international signing since the sanctions were lifted. He looks to have a bright future, possessing a fantastic hit tool from the right side with the ability to play shortstop. However, at just 18-years-old, it will be a while before we see him in the majors.