Swanson showing pop with new batting stance

September 2nd, 2018

ATLANTA -- Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson has been hitting the ball hard this season, but too often he hasn't had the results to match. With a simple change to his batting stance, he's starting to see more of the pop the team envisioned.

Over the past three weeks, Swanson has worked with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer to widen his stance to improve his swing path.

"I think what it's really done is it keeps me more still," Swanson said. "It helps you see the ball earlier and longer and just helps you make adjustments a little better. When you have a lot of moving parts, it just simplifies it."

Swanson entered Sunday slashing .297/.352/.625 with six home runs in 72 plate appearances, including Saturday's key eighth-inning homer, since Aug. 11. That's a tremendous improvement over his season line of .246/.303/.416 with 14 home runs in 460 plate appearances.

Swanson has hit 110 balls at 95 mph or harder this season, according to Statcast™, which ranks 128th out of 298 players with at least 150 batted balls. But that pop has often gone to waste when his swing chopped balls into the ground instead of driving them to the outfield.

"It's something we've talked about, making some [adjustments] where he's more in his legs," Seitzer said. "Sometimes he gets a little far forward, and this keeps him in his legs to where he can stay against his front side. When he gets too far forward his swing gets too steep to where it has too much chop to his swing instead of staying on a plane and staying through the ball."

It's only been a few weeks, but the 24-year-old former No. 1 overall Draft pick is showing his potential by nearly doubling his home run total in less than a month. And while he's unlikely to become a 30-home-run hitter, the changes are evident with fewer ground balls (34.0 percent since Aug. 11 vs. 42.3 percent on the season) and more hard-hit balls (49.0 percent vs. 36.2 percent).

"You see him hit those balls, so obviously it's in there," manager Brian Snitker said. "He's a young hitter. He's not all that experienced in this league, and he's still figuring things out and learning the league and how to do it. He's going to get better. The more he plays, the better he'll get. He's a smart kid, and he's willing to put the work in."

Worth noting

• Closer (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett in the Stripers' season finale on Monday before joining fellow reliever (right shoulder impingement) for Class A Rome's playoff run in which Vizcaino will make two appearances.

Of course, it's not an ideal scenario for the Minor League teams, but Snitker is familiar with the practice from when he was a Minor League manager. At this point in the year, the only Minor League games for a rehabbing player to appear in are in the playoffs.

"It's the only game in town," Snitker said. "I've managed against Major Leaguers in playoffs before. It ticked you off. You worked that hard with your group of guys, and then you get there, and they're bringing the ringers in. It's not fair, but it's kind of what it is. "

• Meanwhile, (right knee tendinitis) is further behind in his rehab than the other right-handers. Snitker said the plan with him is to continue throwing side sessions until there is progress.

• The Braves added a pair of familiar faces to their active roster on Sunday. Atlanta selected , placing on the 60-day disabled list (left low back strain) as a corresponding move. Flaherty has slashed .222/.298/.301 in 172 plate appearances for Atlanta this season and can play all four infield positions.

• The Braves also acquired outfielder from the Reds for cash considerations. They previously traded Tucker to Cincinnati at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in a deal for . Since Tucker was not in the organization by Aug. 31, he will not be eligible for the postseason. Tucker is slashing .240/.302/.429 in 169 plate appearances this season.