Times change and so do baseball players.
There was a time – just last year – when Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson was considered a liability. He was a soft spot in the lineup.
He had a weak bat and a good glove. That was Swanson’s reputation.
But a lot has changed since last season. Swanson has done his homework. He has gone back to the practice field. Swanson has retooled his batting mechanics.
He has done excessive work in the batting cage. Swanson, just 25 years old, has found some consistency. So far this season the change in the Braves infielder is noticeable.
It is striking, as is Swanson, who had a plump .324 batting average after his first 11 games of this season. In his first 34 at-bats of the year, Swanson had 11 hits and eight runs.
He appears to be a different kind of player. Swanson is one of the most improved Braves. He is still picking it clean at shortstop, going in the hole and making strong throws to Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Swanson is becoming a complete player. No longer a question mark with a bat in his hands, Swanson has found some power. He is making contact on a regular basis with four home runs, one double and one triple.
Those are Freddie Freeman type of statistics. Swanson is making the Braves a better team this year. He does not have an apparent weakness.
He is cutting down on his strikeouts, too. He had just eight strikeouts in his first 34 at-bats of this season. Swanson doesn’t look like the same guy who batted just .238 last year.
He isn’t. He is a much better version of Dansby Swanson, thanks to good coaching, hard work and his much improved batting stroke.
An all-star appearance might be in Swanson’s baseball future and maybe even a handful of World Series at-bats. He is a confident Brave.
The author of this article can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.