Obviously, it’s quite early in the 2018 season. But don’t tell that to Dansby Swanson, who has already begun his resurgence after an admittedly lackluster inaugural season in the majors.
First testing the waters of the majors in 2016, integral Atlanta Braves prospect Swanson arrived in a flurry. Over 145 plate appearances in 38 games, Swanson hit a neat .302/.361/.442 after making the leap straight from AA.
Unfortunately, 2017 didn’t start, end, or progress in any way that resembled the brief 2016 success – his final slash line was .232/.312/.324. Depending on who you ask, this in large part can be attributed to Swanson’s spring training prior to the 2017 season. After succumbing to a right oblique strain and missing 15 games in spring training, Swanson ended up posting a .194 average after 55 games of 2017.
“I think it kind of disrupted the good vibes I had going on, because it all started so well,” Swanson noted.
However, as the great wordsmith Kurt Vonnegut once put it, “Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.” Whether he liked it or not, Swanson certainly worked hard to learn several lessons about playing in the majors, fighting through nagging injuries, and course-correcting mid-season while still performing for your job.After an abysmal 2017, former number-one overall pick Dansby Swanson is looking to take the next step into MLB stardom in 2018.Click To Tweet
More importantly, it seems like he’s wiser than before, as well. “Last year is last year, it’s in the past and I’ve already kind of reflected, and that’s by the wayside,” Swanson firmly stated.
At this early glance into 2018, it would appear Swanson is staying true to his word. Through the first five games, Swanson is hitting .318/.318/.409, including a nifty .500 with runners in scoring position.
While the early season statistics are nice, even the age-old eye-test does wonders for Swanson just five games into this season: while pitchers continue to attack the outer third of the zone with fastballs and sliders drawing him to chase, he clearly has exhibited more patience and awareness of this pattern. Even his outs are being made with more solid contact than the majority of last season, and you know what happens when you simply put the ball in play.
If Swanson can keep reigniting this inner-promise and further deepen a Braves lineup that will include Ronald Acuña in a matter of weeks, watch out for Atlanta in 2018.