Vaughn Grissom: Be discouraged by the major-leaguer, not the prospect

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Coming into the season, most thought Vaughn Grissom would fill the shoes of Dansby Swanson, but it was actually Orlando Arcia that won the job out of Spring Training and has run with it since. The Braves didn’t trust Grissom’s defense, and after seeing him play shortstop in the majors in Arcia’s absence, it’s easy to see why.

Grissom racked up the errors in bunches, committing six of them in just 18 starts, and I’m not even sure that describes properly how abysmal he was at shortstop. He is nowhere near becoming a shortstop at the major-league level, and his bat also wasn’t anything to write home about, managing just one extra-base hit despite a .277 batting average.

Understandably, many Braves fans are down on Grissom, but those people must be reminded of the situation.

Vaughn Grissom was never supposed to be a major-leaguer at this stage in his career. He was forced to in Atlanta after just 22 games in AA last season, skipping AAA entirely. Sure, he had some success initially, but that’s only a testament to how good of a young player he is.

Not every prospect is Michael Harris or┬áSpencer Strider; guys who can just move their way up the system in a burst and immediately experience sustained success. They are the exception, not the rule. Grissom has been asked to do things he wasn’t ready for; he should be in AAA right now, and with the Stripers, he looks like one of the best young prospects in the game.

At just 22-years-old, Grissom is playing like a man amongst boys in Gwinnett. He’s hitting an outstanding .386 with a couple of homers and eight extra-base hits in total, good for a 1.094 OPS through 14 games. If Grissom had never seen the light of day in Atlanta, he would be talked about like one of the top young prospects in baseball–a future star.

Will Grissom ever be good enough defensively at shortstop? I can’t answer that; he’s got a ways to go, but I will say it’s not fair to judge his defense while he was learning on the fly at the major-league level. I still think it is possible with more experience, and he’ll get those opportunities in the minors, where he should have been for the entirety of the last two seasons. Grissom may not be big-league ready now, but there’s no reason to doubt his future. He’s on track to have a fantastic career in the majors.

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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