Another day, another win. I will NEVER get tired of this, and I’ll enjoy every moment. And I’ll get to the game in just a moment, but right now, I want to take a step back and look at Dansby Swanson.
Dansby Swanson has been criticized by some for almost his entire career for not living up to his 1-1 status. Arizona drafted him in 1st overall in the 2015 first overall draft. It did not help Dansby, either, that Dave Stewart seemed to suggest he was not a true 1-1 when he traded him along with two others — one of which already a legitimate major leaguer in Ender Inciarte — for a very-good-but-not-great pitcher in Shelby Miller. So by the end of Dansby’s first professional season, it was easy to form a narrative that Dansby wouldn’t live up to his draft status.
His slow-to-develop bat also did not help things. After a short cup of coffee with Atlanta in 2016, Dansby’s three straight seasons of below league average wRC’s solidified the narrative for some that Dansby might be a glove-first shortstop with a middling bat. That’s enough for Atlanta to win the trade (especially with what they got from Ender and then Miller’s subsequent struggles), but it certainly suggested Dansby would solidify himself as an overreach by Stewart. Dansby’s bat improved in the next two seasons, but not to the likes of the 1-1’s he was compared to — Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Ken Griffey, Jr, Joe Mauer, Bryce Harper, Darryl Strawberry. The list of household names is long.
Well, there ought to be no more conversations. Through 63 games in Dansby’s age 28 season, it might surprise you to know that out of 56 total 1-1’s, he is now 30th all-time in that group. And what he is doing this year is downright historic amongst this prestigious group. Through those 63 games, Dansby boasts a 2.7 fWAR. Though likely unsustainable, that puts him on a 162-game pace of nearly 7 fWAR. If he could somehow sustain that pace, that would be one of the greatest seasons ever by a 1-1. Dansby Swanson is living up to the hype and his draft status.
Back to the game. We are witnessing one of the most impressive power performances of any Braves team since 2003 when every lineup regular hit at least 10 home runs, Javy Lopez hit 43, and the starting outfield of Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and Gary Sheffield combined to hit 102 home runs. But instead of me trying to tell you just how good the Braves have been during this streak, I will let Jay Jaffe from Fangraphs tell you.
One more game in the nation’s capital, and we’re off to Chicago.