FanGraphs believes shortstop is a position where the Braves could improve


FanGraphs positional rankings continued a couple of days ago with shortstops, and it’s the first area where the Braves did not get glaring reviews, coming in at 21st out of 30 teams. However, it’s not so much because of Dansby Swanson. FanGraphs actually pegs Swanson as a middle-of-the-road shortstop in terms of projections, and he recently came in at 13th on their final 2022 shortstop rankings. However, as I’ve said before many times, FanGraphs is not fond of the Braves’ depth, which came back to bite them in these rankings.

Here is what they had to say about Swanson, who should play every day if healthy:

Swanson was the ultimate “would be a 3 WAR player with an average bat” candidate for a while, and in 2021, he finally managed to hit that mark, slashing .248/.311/.449 (98 wRC+) in a career-best 160 games. The incremental gains in hard-hit rate since his rookie season have paid off, and he’s also laying off pitches outside the zone (good) while upping the aggression versus pitches inside the zone (also good!). There’s reason to believe more is possible, but because he hasn’t lost a step on defense – his range and throwing arm remain exceptional – the current version of Swanson leaves less to be desired than before.

Most people will sit here and say, “Swanson has shown us who he is with the bat,” which is understandable. There aren’t many shortstops who break out as they creep closer to their age-30 season. However, I’m still convinced we haven’t seen the best from him offensively. He’s improved every season at the plate, and if he can ever avoid the lengthy slump he’s usually good for once a season — or at least reduce it a bit — I think he could be a 4-WAR player or better. When Swanson’s hot, he’s one of the best shortstops in the game. It’s all about finding a tiny bit more consistency, and he could be in for a monstrous 2022.

Photo: Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire

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