As Mark Bowman of MLB.com first reported Wednesday night, Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson has been informed that he’ll be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday.
Swanson was thought to be a strong NL Rookie of the Year candidate heading into 2017, as he posted an impressive .302/.361/.442 slash line with three homers in 145 plate appearances after being called up on August 17 last year (and retained his rookie eligibility by falling just two at-bats short of the limit).
He’s fallen upon hard times during his second major-league season, though, hitting .213/.287/.312 with six home runs in 362 plate appearances. Interestingly, Swanson actually had a good game on Wednesday, going 2 for 4 with a double, but that obviously didn’t alter Atlanta’s plans.
Swanson, who was the first overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft and was acquired from the Diamondbacks as part of a trade for Shelby Miller prior to last season, is still just 23 years old. He reached the majors in his first full professional season, so obviously there are plenty of reasons for the Braves to be patient with him and hope that he can still be the star shortstop that many believed he’d become.
It’s likely that rookie Johan Camargo will get the majority of the time at shortstop in Swanson’s absence, with utility men like Sean Rodriguez, Danny Santana, or Jace Peterson (who’s currently in Triple-A) also candidates to see time at the position. There will certainly be calls for the Braves to promote 20-year-old prospect Ozzie Albies to fill the vacancy, but the Braves seem to view him more as a second baseman, as he’s played 77 games at second and just 14 at short this year.