ATLANTA -- As Dansby Swanson has experienced the trials and tribulations the early portion of his first full Major League season has brought, he has adapted to a still relatively unfamiliar environment and made necessary adjustments to his approach.But after recording the first three-hit game of his young career during
ATLANTA -- As Dansby Swanson has experienced the trials and tribulations the early portion of his first full Major League season has brought, he has adapted to a still relatively unfamiliar environment and made necessary adjustments to his approach.
But after recording the first three-hit game of his young career during Wednesday night's 14-1 win over the Phillies, the Braves' shortstop spoke about the importance of remaining true to the primary components of the swing that helped him become the first overall player selected in the Draft just two years ago.
"I think I'm just starting to understand my swing and naturally how it works," Swanson said. "I had to take advantage of what I do best. It's something that has helped me grow as a person and just go and play.
"I feel like I'm right where I need to be. It's like I'm just going up there with my natural swing and not trying to do anything other than what I've always done. Your swing is your swing. There ain't no changing it. It's about how you take advantage of that swing."
With this three-hit performance, which was highlighted by a three-run homer off Jerad Eickhoff during the fifth inning, Swanson improved his batting average to .205. The 23-year-old rookie crossed the Mendoza Line for the first time this season on May 19, but dipped down below it one week later. He entered Wednesday having hit just .162 (6-for-37) over his past 11 games.
"He's been working, so it's nice to see him have that big night," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's been getting a little better and a little better. There have been signs. He's remaining confident in himself and hopefully this is the start of something big for him."
Much has been made about the fact Swanson totaled just 127 games and 569 plate appearances at the Minor League level before making the leap from Double-A Mississippi to the big league level last August. But it's often forgotten that he played just two full seasons at Vanderbilt University because a broken foot caused him to miss his freshman season and the summer season that followed.
So in essence, this season would be just the fourth full one Swanson has experienced since concluding his career at suburban Atlanta's Marietta High School.
With all of this in mind, it's easier to understand why Swanson has had trouble finding answers to other teams adjusting after seeing him hit .302 over 38 games with Atlanta last year. Scouting reports have provided opposing pitchers the holes in his swing and the persuasion to confidently throwing breaking balls.
Swanson entered Wednesday having gone just 1-for-32 against sliders that have concluded his at-bats this year. But he's recently reacted better to breaking balls and provided indication he is heading in the right direction with this area of his development.
Eickhoff certainly learned this when he hung a 0-1 slider over the middle of the plate that Swanson drilled a projected 397 feet over the left-center-field wall. The three-run shot was the sixth homer of the season for the rookie, who has maintained an upbeat personality and strong work ethic while enduring this year's growing pains.
"There are adjustments that need to be made and I feel like I'm starting to make those," Swanson said.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.