It was evident Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson’s power-charged season would result in a new career-high homer total. He’s already set that new mark in late June.
Swanson swatted his 15th homer in Monday’s loss to the Cubs, surpassing his total from last season and continuing a break-out offensive season that may put him in next month’s All-Star game.
“The work, the maturity he’s had, the experience, he’s just a year older in this game,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a very bright guy. He has a great baseball feel, instincts, the whole thing. He’s maturing into a very solid major league player.”
The former No. 1 overall pick already broke the franchise record for most homers before the All-Star break (Rafael Furcal, 13). The franchise record for a shortstop over an entire season is 20, established by Denis Menke in 1964 and equaled by Jeff Blauser (1997) and Andrelton Simmons (2013).
Swanson is on pace to shatter that record, with a possible 30-homer campaign a realistic possibility. He also has a shot at 100 RBIs (he has 48 entering Tuesday).
“He’s not the big strapping guy like (Ronald Acuna or Austin Riley), but you talk about a solid baseball player,” Snitker said. “That’s the greatest compliment I can give a guy. He’s a baseball player. He’s an every-day performer.”
Swanson’s calling card is producing when it matters most. He owns a .330 (31-for-94) average in the seventh inning and later while posting 31 hits in that situation, tied for second best in the National League.
Among his striking differences, Swanson has become an asset against southpaws. After hitting .237 against lefties in his first three seasons, Swanson has hit .303/.347/.485 against them through 79 games this season.
Entering the year, Swanson being the starting shortstop for the National League All-Star team was far-fetched. As we sit here in late June, Swanson is the favorite to receive the most votes in MLB’s starters election, which opens Wednesday.
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