The Braves and Vaughn Grissom are at a crossroads. Either the club needs to find a place for him to play every day or they need to capitalize on his value and trade him. The only place for him to slot in is left field.
It was said by Alex Anthopoulos that the club will consider Grissom an option in left field, and the GM confirmed over the weekend that the youngster will try the new position in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
Alex Anthopoulos mentioned that Vaughn Grissom is going to play winter ball in Puerto Rico in order to get some time in the outfield. #Braves will give him a look there this spring and Grissom wants to be prepared for a new position.
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) December 3, 2023
That would be the best case scenario. Given his athletic profile, Grissom should be able to handle the position. There’s plenty of examples of players — Austin Riley, Chipper Jones, and Freddie Freeman — playing out of their natural positions and experiencing success. Riley and Jones played left field, and Freeman played third base; if they can do that, Vaughn Grissom should be able to be a servicable defender in left field, especially with Michael Harris roaming center.
Grissom’s offense has never been the question. In 102 games, he managed to hit .330 with 36 doubles and eight home runs, good for a .921 OPS in AAA. His stick is ready for an everyday role in the bigs, but a trade over the weekend may complicate things.
Atlanta acquired Jarred Kelenic from the Mariners. The 24 year old struggled at first but made progress last season, recording a .759 with 11 homers in his first 90 games before an injury in July. He features a lot of power with good defense and a great arm. He’ll compete with Vaughn Grissom for the opportuntiy to start in left field.
With Atlanta’s ability to maximize talent, this has a chance to be another masterclass by Alex Anthopoulos, especially considering Kelenic is under contract through 2028.
They could platoon, but I’m of the opinion that Vaughn Grissom and Jarred Kelenic need everyday at-bats. Now that both are in the fold, one of them is expendable. Given the recent acquisition of Kelenic, that makes the Braves and Grissom’s standing cloudy.
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