ATLANTA -- As the Braves move closer toward determining when to unveil their much-anticipated middle-infield duo of the future at the big league level, they are ready to put Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies on the same team.But instead of rushing Swanson to Triple-A Gwinnett, they have decided to send
ATLANTA -- As the Braves move closer toward determining when to unveil their much-anticipated middle-infield duo of the future at the big league level, they are ready to put Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies on the same team.
But instead of rushing Swanson to Triple-A Gwinnett, they have decided to send Albies down to Double-A Mississippi.
When the season began, the Braves were open-minded about which of the two highly regarded prospects would eventually transition from shortstop to second base. But it now appears they are ready to keep Swanson on the infield's left side and allow Albies to continue playing second base, which he consistently manned over the past three weeks with Gwinnett.
MLBPipeline.com ranks Swanson as the Braves' top prospect and baseball's No. 6 prospect. Albies ranks as Atlanta's third-best prospect and the game's No. 25 prospect.
Albies batted .248 with a .307 on-base percentage and .351 slugging percentage over 247 plate appearances with Gwinnett. The 19-year-old from Curacao committed 11 errors in 160 chances while playing shortstop at the Triple-A level, but after making the transition to second base on June 5, he committed five errors in 141 chances.
The Braves promoted Swanson from Class A Advanced Carolina to Mississippi on April 30 and simultaneously promoted Albies from Mississippi to Gwinnett. At the time, they wanted both to continue playing shortstop on a daily basis.
Swanson has batted .254 with a .335 on-base percentage and .401 slugging percentage in 221 plate appearances with Mississippi. He has committed six errors in 259 chances at the Double-A level.
Though Swanson has nine hits in his past 23 at-bats, he has batted just .211 with a .610 OPS over his past 27 games, dating back to May 23. The Braves obviously want to allow the 22-year-old a chance to continue cultivating the skills that have been highly touted since he was taken by the D-backs with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft. The Braves acquired him in a trade that sent pitcher Shelby Miller to Arizona in December.
Albies batted .369 and compiled a .954 OPS in the 95 plate appearances he compiled earlier this season with Mississippi.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.