The Braves surprised many by optioning Vaughn Grissom to Gwinnett towards the end of Spring Training in favor of the veteran Orlando Arcia, but so far, it is working out for all parties involved. The major-league club is off to a red-hot 4-1 start, and Arcia has played a pivotal role in that. He blasted his first homer of the year yesterday and is hitting .316 with an .876 OPS, and he’s doing so while playing Gold Glove caliber defense at the shortstop position. His offense may not be sustainable over a longer stretch, but his defense alone makes him valuable. It also allows Vaughn Grissom some more time to marinate in AAA, where he currently looks like a man amongst boys.
After another stellar performance at the plate last night where Grissom went 3-for-4, his average is now up to .500 on the season and his OPS sits at a ridiculous 1.685. Five of Grissom’s eight hits have gone for extras bases — two doubles, two triples, and a home run.
Defensively, there are still some concerns with Grissom, and I’m not sure those will dissipate overnight. However, he continues to flash the potential of a player who has the ability to be elite offensively at the major-league level. Remember, this is a guy who hadn’t even played 30 AA games before he was called up to the majors last year. Grissom handled himself well in Atlanta, and he’s proving in Gwinnett right now that it was no fluke. If he keeps up at this offensive pace, he will eventually force the Braves hand.
Perhaps Grissom’s role with the major-league club will be a little different than we all anticipated during the offseason. Maybe he takes over for Orlando Arcia at shortstop, maybe he doesn’t. A lot of that will depend on how Arcia plays moving forward. However, there is a role in the majors for the kind of offense Grissom is showcasing at the AAA level. Perhaps they give him some opportunities in left field over the next month or so, but even as a DH, Grissom is showing he can bring something to the Braves whenever they need him.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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