Quick rewind on the past three years of Dansby Swanson’s career: The No. 1 overall draft pick gets traded to his hometown team, rockets up through Atlanta’s farm system as a consensus top-10 prospect, excels in first taste of major-league action and then struggles mightily in his first full season, resulting in a surprise midseason demotion. Does that cover it for a shortstop who just turned 24?
Swanson’s late-season improvement could not mask his disappointing final slash line of .232/.312/.324 with six homers, hitting 44 percent below league average, but he enters the campaign as an apparent lock in the starting lineup with plenty of time to tap into his potential. Still, as the Braves continue to search for long-term answers within its own system, Swanson’s third MLB season could go a long way in proving the franchise’s middle infield is in good hands.