Atlanta Braves: Could be make or break time for Dansby Swanson

At the start of the 2019 season, it appeared Dansby Swanson was on his way to breaking out for the Atlanta Braves. But then injuries derailed his season. Can he get back to that form in 2020?

Until July 23rd, when he hit the injured list with a heel injury, Dansby Swanson was having the breakout season the Atlanta Braves had long hoped for since he was acquired in 2015.

The former No. 1 pick had hit 17 homers with 57 RBI until the injury that cost him over a month of the season.

When he came back on August 26th, he was not the same. He had a line of .194/.307/.245 the rest of the season with no home runs and only eight driven in.

It should be noted, however, that he did hit .389 in the NLDS against the Cardinals, which included a monster double in Game 3.

His final line from 2019 was .251/.325/.422, with an OPS+ of 89 and a WAR of 0.9.

While the bat came alive early, Swanson’s glove, which was so good in 2018, took a step back.

According to Fangraphs, Swanson was 15th in baseball among shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved (-3) and 18th in UZR (-6.4).

Just how different is that from his 2018 season? Swanson was 6th in both DRS (10) and UZR (5.6) that season.

The argument can be made that the 2020 season is a make or break season for Swanson.

So maybe this is the year all of it comes together for the soon-to-be 26-year-old. He is in his first season of arbitration, making $3.1 million this season.

What do the offensive projections look like for Swanson? Unfortunately, they suggest more of the same.

Baseball-Reference has Swanson hitting 15 homers with 61 RBI, while slashing .248/.321/.410.

Steamer’s projections are similar, though there is an uptick in power: 18 home runs, 69 RBI, .252/.325/.416.

I suppose if the glove gets back to the 2018 level, then it would be an acceptable season for Swanson, but that seems like a big question mark.

Swanson is a fan-favorite who has had pressure on him to perform from the day he was called up to Atlanta.

Next: Braves all-time 2B

We have seen results in spurts, but now it’s time to consistently see them.