PHOENIX -- Instead of continuing to fill the backup role he has manned since the All-Star break, Dansby Swanson is going to get a chance to play on a daily basis at the Minor League level.As the Braves traveled to Philadelphia following Wednesday's 10-3 loss in Arizona, Swanson was informed
PHOENIX -- Instead of continuing to fill the backup role he has manned since the All-Star break, Dansby Swanson is going to get a chance to play on a daily basis at the Minor League level.
As the Braves traveled to Philadelphia following Wednesday's 10-3 loss in Arizona, Swanson was informed he would be optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. The highly regarded shortstop entered this season as a National League Rookie of the Year candidate, but his inexperience has shown; he has batted .213 with a .599 OPS in 95 games.
The Braves also optioned Aaron Blair, who had been called up from Gwinnett to make a spot start Wednesday.
Corresponding moves will be announced before the team plays its next game on Friday in Philadelphia. Versatile infielder Micah Johnson seems to be the most likely candidate to fill Swanson's roster spot.
Swanson has started just six of the 13 games the Braves have played since the All-Star break. He is expected to begin serving as Gwinnett's everyday shortstop on Friday in Syracuse.
This has been a mentally trying season for Swanson, who finished May with a .185 batting average then hit .306 with a .774 OPS in June. Though he recorded a pair of hits Wednesday, he has batted just .136 (9-for-66) over his past 23 games, dating back to June 24.
As Swanson struggled, he began to lose playing time to Johan Camargo, who has served as Atlanta's primary shortstop over the past couple weeks. Camargo has provided a steady glove while also hitting .305 with a .802 OPS over 158 plate appearances.
Swanson made the jump from Double-A Mississippi to the Majors in August 2016 and proceeded to hit .302 with an .803 OPS over 38 games with Atlanta. He had totaled just 569 plate appearances as a professional before making the leap to the big leagues.
Provided a chance to get a read last year, opposing pitchers have seemingly had a better plan for Swanson, who has hit a Major League-worst .073 (4-for-55) against sliders this season (minimum 50 results), per Statcast™. He has batted .366 (15-for-41) against pitches on the inner third of the plate and .171 (14-for-82) against pitches on the outer third.
After being taken by the D-backs with the first overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Swanson was traded to his hometown Braves in a blockbuster trade that sent Shelby Miller to Arizona during that year's Winter Meetings. The suburban Atlanta native ranked as one of MLBPipeline's top prospects before graduating from prospect status on Opening Day this year.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.