Dansby Swanson came to the Atlanta Braves with much fan fare. Heading into his 2nd full season with the big club, he needs to prove that hype was justified.
Like most of you, I am privy and conjoined to a number of “text chains” that vary from friend group to friend group. This one group is comprised of one of my brothers and two long time friends. All “salt of the earth” people. One such friend, though, has been dubbed “The Hater of All Haters”. And dude wakes up every day trying to earn that title. Today, much like last year, his ire was directed towards Dansby Swanson. Now, his hate, like most, is irrational. He is so invested in it by now, that he actively cheers the negative, just so he is right. But as wave after wave of shade was thrown, it got me thinking about Swanson and our beloved Atlanta Braves.
In spite of “The A Train’s” (Hater of All Haters) insistence that Swanson couldn’t play for his kid’s little league team, it is true that Swanson needs to show improvement this year. But what does that look like? What would define successful?
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Swanson sported a facile and flaccid stat line in 2017 that reads like a Nora Ephron screen play: .232 BA, .312 OPB, 6 HR, 51 RBI, 120 SO. Dude had 113 hits and 120 Strike Outs. That’s not good enough. He also had 20 Errors. That’s also not good enough.
But does it warrant the focused spewing of hate rays from the HOAH? In a word, no. In a couple of words, of course not. He’s just a hater.
Dansby Swanson, local kid from Cobb County, is only 23 years old. Last year was his first full year in the league. No one ever claimed he was some sort of preternatural phenom who would change the arch of the franchise. Only that he was really, really good in college ball and that he very well could help the club.
So, what does that look like? Based on last year’s stat line, I’d say something close to a .260 BA, 130 Hits, fewer than 95 Strike Outs, and half the Errors (10). None of that seems ridiculously or outrageously aggressive.
Were that to happen, it would not only help our Atlanta Braves, but it would also show that Swanson is progressing at a clip that would indicate that he could be, in fact, the Short Stop of the future. It probably would also quiet some of the muffled murmur of concern from Brave Nation last year regarding Swanson and his struggles.
Not AT, though. The Hater of All Haters will just move on to some other thing to hate that day. Most likely Freddie Freeman’s base running, or some such. That is, after all, what they do.