Atlanta Braves insider Mark Bowman revealed a solution for two of the team’s biggest remaining problems — shortstop and left field.
Atlanta lost Dansby Swanson via free agency to the Chicago Cubs, leaving a hole at the shortstop position moving forward. While the Braves could make a trade or free-agent signing to counteract losing the former No.1 overall pick, they’ve elected instead to promote from within.
Vaughn Grissom, a 21-year-old who impressed last year with Atlanta, is expected to begin spring training as one of the primary options to replace Swanson. He’ll compete with the likes of Orlando Arcia, but given Grissom spent a large chunk of the offseason honing his defensive abilities with assistant Ron Washington, he’s the organizational favorite.
Braves: Questions remain about Vaughn Grissom
Still, Bowman questions whether a few weeks this offseason and in spring training can truly prepare Grissom to be an everyday shortstop:
“But while I have the utmost respect for how Washington has positively impacted the careers of many infielders, I don’t know if he’s a miracle worker. Could he prepare Grissom over the course of another full year? Maybe. But I don’t know if a few weeks during the offseason and Spring Training is enough to get the infielder to where he needs to be.”
Grissom is one of the team’s top prospects for a reason, and is a likely target for a pre-arbitration long-term deal. There’s a good chance he starts out as a part-time player, though.
What will Braves do in the outfield?
Left field is more of a question mark for Atlanta. Eddie Rosario is the likely starter right now, but by no means is he guaranteed to stay in that spot on the depth chart. Rosario is in a walk year. He has every motivation to succeed prior to hitting free agency.
Nonetheless, the Braves have a litany of mediocre options, many of which they picked up this offseason, as Bowman pointed out:
“The veteran outfielder showed reduced power after his vision issues were fixed last season, and he is an average defender at best in left field. Jordan Luplow, Eli White and Sam Hilliard only provide value in a platoon role or as a late-inning defensive replacement.”
Bowman also theorized that Vaughn Grissom could play left if none of the other options are suitable. His bat is just that valuable.