The Atlanta Braves have traded shortstop Eric Aybar to the Detroit Tigers and promoted their top prospect Dansby Swanson to the Bigs. With this move Swanson leapfrogs AAA.
At AA Swanson wasn’t hitting very well as he hit a modest .261. His defense was decent with a fielding percentage of .980 (eight errors in eighty-three games). But since Eric Aybar was only hitting .242 with the Braves, they can take some risk. Even though the club is playing better lately, the team is going nowhere since they are dead last in the NL East, trailing the division leading Washington Nationals by 26.5 games.
With the Mississippi Braves, Swanson was the team mate and formed a double play tandem with Ozzie Albies. Earlier this season, Albies was promoted to AAA Gwinnett and did pretty well there. But the Braves wanted the two to get accustomed to each other as they see them as their future middle infield combo, so the Braves demoted Albies to AA again. But it is clear that Swanson is a patient hitter as he reached base 16 out of his 17 last at bats at AA.
“There’s a lot we like about Dansby,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told MLB.com. “We don’t expect him to come up here and be the savior, but we feel like this is an opportunity for us to take a good look and get him some experience up here in the big leagues.”
But as a Dutch baseball fan I am curious if this promotion is an omen for Ozzie Albies to be called up any time soon. The Braves have two second basemen according to their player page at MLB.com. But one of them, Chase d’Arnaud hasn’t played much games at second. Only nine to be exact. He played eighteen games at third and at short and a couple of games in the outfield. The other second baseman, Jace Peterson, has played 144 games at second base in 2015 in which he committed just nine errors. But this year, he won’t beat that number as he played only 54 games as a second bagger with seven errors.
Both players are hitting around .250.
At AA Albies is hitting a very restpectable .333 but during his short stint at AAA Gwinnett, he hit a modest .248. At second base his fielding percentage was .989 at Mississippi (AA) and .965 at Gwinnett. At shortstop his numbers were quite a bit worse but since the Braves see him as their future second baseman, we should focus on those numbers.
Because those numbers are a bit disappointing, you may wonder if he is ready for the big step. But on the other hand, if he will be called up in September, when the MLB rosters expand to 40 men, it will be a learning process.
As far as I am concerned, there is no doubt that he will be added to the 40-man roster in September just to let him give him a taste. The question remains if he will be called up before September 1.
To slash the hope of those Dutch fans who hope that he may represent the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the upcoming European Cup, IF Albies will be placed on the 40-man roster you can forget that he will play of team KOTN. And even if he won’t be called up in September, last year the Braves did not want him to particpate with Team Kingdom of the Netherlands in the inaugural Premier 12 tournament. Don’t expect them to chance their stance. Right now he is simply to valuable for them.