The Atlanta Braves is the epitome of a baseball team with “Rich people problems”. As of this week, they have dominated teams out of the gate to the tune of having the largest division lead in Major League Baseball — seven games up on the rest of the National League East.
After starting the season 5-4, the Braves have won 20 of their last 28 to sit next to the Tampa Rays as the hottest team in baseball.
However, that doesn’t mean that Atlanta doesn’t have questions that need to be answered sooner than later.
One of the major storylines in spring training was who was going to replace Dansby Swanson at shortstop when he moved on to Chicago to play with the Cubs.
Some believed that our MLBbro Vaughn Grissom would be the odds on favorite to take the position, particularly with Orlando Arcia sidelined with a broken wrist.
But with Arcia returning to the shortstop position from injury without a rehab assignment, the Braves promoted Braden Shewmake and sent Grissom to the minors.
The #Braves today reinstated INF Orlando Arcia from the injured list. The club optioned INF Vaughn Grissom to Triple-A Gwinnett following last night’s game.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 7, 2023
Now that we know what happens with Vaughn Grissom at this moment, what about his future? But before answering those questions, let’s take a look back to how far Vaughn has come.
A Baby MLBbro with grown MLBbro potential:
While Michael Harris II took most of the youth spotlight by winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award, Vaughn Grissom emerged from the shadows shocking the world of baseball by making major contributions to a playoff contending team.
His jump from Double-A to the parent club continued the Atlanta Braves tradition of finding and developing young talent to carry on the winning tradition into the future.
The @Braves have a strong track of bringing up young studs.#MLBTonight looks back at some of the young Braves who have burst onto the scene in the past 30 years, highlighted by current rookies Michael Harris II and Vaughn Grissom.#ForTheA | @TheMayorsOffice | @CY24_7 pic.twitter.com/Hr4XNUfX63
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) August 16, 2022
Last year, Vaughn was one of the youngest players in all of baseball. With the shining potential of Grissom, particularly with his bat, our MLBbro was believed to become the the other half of the youngest tag team threat in the lineup with Michael Harris II.
What has Vaughn Grissom accomplished with the Braves this season?
Even though our MLBbro has hitting splits of .277/.314/.308 in a 70 plate sample size, the major problem is in the field when he plays shortstop. In 19 games, Grissom collected six errors (Some on easy grounders) that might have him moving to another position when he returns from the minors. According to Outs Above Average via Sports Illustrated…
● He was placed at the 1st percentile in Outs Above Average at -4.
● This states that Grissom was the third worst shortstop in the majors.
● Now this advanced stat is based on the player based on opportunity. The amount of opportunities accumulated affects the numbers.
But looking at the success rate which provides more clarity, it doesn’t look much better. Grissom’s 64 percent success rate makes him the second worst defender in all of baseball behind Rodolfo Castro (Pittsburgh Pirates) and tied with Kike Hernandez with the worst success rate added with -8 percent.
Braves MLBbro third base coach Ron Washington has not given up on fellow MLBbro Grissom and explains why no one else should either via The Athletic…
“I feel real good about Griss,” Washington said. “All it is, is gaining experience. He was trying to learn how to play shortstop in the big leagues. He wasn’t learning how to play shortstop in the minor leagues. And learning how to play shortstop in the big leagues is night and day from playing shortstop in the minor leagues.”
“There’s so much that goes on out there when you’re in the middle of that field that you have to be involved in. So he had a lot on his plate. But he’s gained a lot too. You might not see it right now, but he’s gained a lot from spring training to now.”
Vaughn’s offense is not nearly as glaring as his defense, however. Our MLBbro is still capable of tearing the cover off the ball and forcing it out of any MLB park.
A few tweaks to his approach at the plate will help him immensely. First, more discipline at the plate allowing himself more walks can help. Grissom is a player that will hack at pitches at a high level swinging at 55 percent of the pitches offered to him this season. That is immensely higher than the league average of 47 percent.
This concept leads to inconsistent results at the plate for Grissom and the offensive output for the Braves. Despite the lack of discipline at times this season, Grissom is still hitting the ball harder this season than the last. In short, the time in the minors will help our MLBbro sharpen his approach at the plate along with his fielding.
Bottom line as of now…when Grissom is in rhythm, he’s really good, when he loses his moxy, it can get ugly at times.
Where does MLBbro, Vaughn Grissom go from here?:
Nowhere. He just needs to continue to work. Has this been the ideal start for Vaughn Grissom? No. But the baseball season is the Boston Marathon of sports so he has plenty of time to get things situated, particularly with an Atlanta Braves team that is tearing up the majors right now. Our MLBbro has a future in baseball. If the Braves give up on him (Most likely NOT!), there are plenty of other teams that will take on this outstanding prospect.
1. Remember this is a player with enough raw talent to leapfrog the Triple A level to play 22 games last year and make some waves in the lineup.
2. The man is still a young baseball prospect. He won’t turn 23 until next year in January.
3. When Grissom was called up, he didn’t go to the shortstop position. Atlanta put him at second base.
4. His first game against the Charlotte Bats, our MLBbro debuted with three hits (including a double) with a run scored.
5. He’s still putting up monster numbers for the Gwinnett Stripers. In a recent game against Nashville, Grissom went 2-4 with an RBI.
Look for Grissom’s trip to the minors as a fine tuning as opposed to a demotion. It’s a lot to ask any player to progress at the rate the Atlanta Braves were asking from this young player at this point of his career.
But best believe that Vaughn Grissom won’t be in a Gwinnett uniform long or be going back soon thanks to some advice he received from Ron Washington…
Vaughn Grissom shares Ron Washington's message to him:
"Wherever they put you, you just gotta go take care of business. At the end of the day, if you don't like it, play better. I just gotta go take care of my business and try to get back." pic.twitter.com/W2VwlLXWdH
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) March 29, 2023