Braves: Vaughn Grissom has a chance to earn a roster spot for good

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The Braves received more negative injury news yesterday when it was revealed Orlando Arcia has a micro-fracture in wrist and will be placed on the IL. That move is expected to come today, and Vaughn Grissom will be called up in his place to start at shortstop.

Before the season, everyone expected the younger Grissom to win the job out of Spring Training, and he did very little — as far as we could see — to lose it. He was outstanding offensively, and while he wasn’t a Gold Glover defensively, he also didn’t look like a fish out of water.

The Braves didn’t see it that way, though. They thought Grissom could use a little more time to marinate in Gwinnett, which is understandable, given he only had played 21 games above the high-A level prior to being called up last year. His defense still needed some work, and more than anything, they wanted to build his confidence as much as possible before thrusting him into an everyday role.

The move has worked out to perfection thus far. Arcia has been one of the best players on the Braves early in the season, playing elite defense at shortstop and providing a ton of production at the bottom of the lineup with a .333 average and a couple of home runs — good for a .911 OPS. Arcia’s done enough to keep his starting job at shortstop, regardless of how Grissom performs in the veteran’s absence, but that doesn’t mean Grissom can’t solidify his spot on the roster as well with an inspiring performance.

If the Braves didn’t trust Grissom at shortstop to begin the season, I’m not sure they will after the next couple of weeks, but the 22-year-old has something that plays at every level — elite offensive ability.

So far in Gwinnett, Grissom is hitting .366 with a homer, two triples, two doubles, and a couple of stolen bags. The sample size is small, but if he hits anything like that with the Braves, they will have to find a spot for him.

I’ve talked in the past about him potentially playing left field. He’s athletic enough to make the transition, and it’s not like Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario are defensive stalwarts in the outfield. There will also be opportunities open for Grissom to serve as the team’s DH. This would be a last resort, as I’m sure the Braves would like to see him get as much work as possible at shortstop to continue his progression. But at a certain point, the team also has to think about winning ball games, and there might not be a better offensive option to be the DH than Vaughn Grissom.

Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire


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