Dansby Swanson continues breakout season with walk-off single

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/atlanta/" data-ylk="slk:Braves">Braves</a> shortstop <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/10234/" data-ylk="slk:Dansby Swanson">Dansby Swanson</a> celebrates after wrapping up a homestand with a walk-off single. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson celebrates after wrapping up a homestand with a walk-off single. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson’s career may not have taken off as fast as it has for several of his teammates, but 2019 is looking like a breakout season for the former top prospect.

Swanson’s hot start continued through Sunday, when he hit his third homer of the season and later added a walk-off single to top the Marlins, 4-3.

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Miami had just tied the game in the top of the frame, when left-hander Adam Conley quickly loaded the bases. The 25-year-old took two fastballs for balls and then turned on an inside pitch and hit it to the wall for the win.

Swanson’s hot hitting is giving the Braves plenty to be excited about in this young season, as Atlanta is off to a 5-4 start. He’s playing well enough that he was moved up from the eight-hole to batting sixth on Sunday.

Although it’s only been eight games, Swanson is hitting .346/.471/.731, and his .483 wOBA is 16th in the majors. He also already has three home runs after taking 35 games to do so last season.

Could Swanson be fulfilling his potential?

As a Marietta, Georgia native and former No. 1 draft pick out of Vanderbilt, Swanson was expected to be the star of the Braves’ rebuild when they opened SunTrust Park in 2017. However, that hasn’t exactly been the case yet.

Swanson has quickly been surpassed by Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuña Jr. and double play mate Ozzie Albies, as he has only hit .243/.314/.369 coming into this season. Still, the Braves have had faith in him and have kept him as the everyday starter.

It’s important to remember that this is only eight games, so plenty could change. After all, Swanson was hitting .358/.394/.582 through the first three weeks of last season but came down to Earth after.

But Swanson has shown reason to believe this breakout could be for real. His walk and strikeout rates are improved (both 17.6 percent), and his 89.9 mph exit velocity is more than three mph higher than his average last season.

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