Lost in the Braves’ mediocre start has been the superb play of shortstop Dansby Swanson, who’s on a career-best 11-game hitting streak.
Swanson, whose 2018 season was stunted by a wrist injury, has had a promising first five weeks. He’s hit .300 (12 for 40) since April 28.
“It’s a big deal that he’s finally healthy,” manager Brian Snitker said. “And the fact he’s another year older. But he is healthy. He’s learning to play up here in the major leagues, really.”
The 25-year-old was already an admirable defender. His offense rounding into shape is such an important development for his team that it could swing the National League East race. The Braves’ lineup has a different dimension when Swanson’s speed and power are on full display.
Swanson already set the franchise record for most RBIs (22) and extra-base hits (13) by a shortstop by the end of April. Fourteen of his 33 hits (42 percent) have been of the extra-base variety.
His 91.7 mph exit velocity is the best of his career. And his clutch gene is very real - Swanson’s hitting .405 (15 for 37) after the seventh inning, and .357 (5 for 14) in close-and-late situations.
Next up for Swanson and the Braves is Arizona, where he made the best play of his young career last September, gunning down a runner at the plate to clinch a win.