Dansby Swanson was welcomed to the Major League Baseball fraternity in 2016 with a modest 38 game audition. If you didn’t look closely, you didn’t realize he hit .302 with three home runs and and was nearly worth a full win in fWAR value.
This almost reminds me of another guy I love and his brief debut season, Corey Seager.
So what will Swanson do to open Atlanta’s brand spanking new SunTrust Park in 2017? The earliest projections are out from STEAMER; and with that projection system you have to know going in that it’s just conservative by nature.
Dansby Swanson’s 2017 STEAMER Projection:
146 games, .258 average, .715 OPS, 14 HR, 60 runs, 65 RBI, 10 stolen bases, 1.8 fWAR
It’s obviously a bit tough to forecast any Atlanta Braves player before we know how the new park plays. For instance, Marlins Park in Miami was expected to be exclusive to pitcher advantage and ended up being pretty favorable to hitters in a surprise swerve by the game.
Steamer says that Swanson isn’t going to hit for much average but will show a little pop and a little speed. No one would complain if he ended next year with around 15 long balls and double-digit steals. Steamer is conservative by nature and even though it’s frustrating when they do things like projecting Mike Trout for 24 home runs and the league leader with 29; it keeps things fair for when Andrew McCutchen or another player have a blip on their career radar with a really bad season. It prepares you for the floor while not actually showing you the floor of a guy.
It just seems that Steamer is never going to be the bold projection system to catch a guy’s breakout before it happens. If you want that, you’ll need to look elsewhere for a system that steps out on a limb once in a while.
Also one has to wonder if they make any additions to the lineup that already features Matt Kemp and Freddie Freeman. An addition of a Justin Turner could have the same springboard effect as it did when he hit behind Corey Seager for much of 2016 in the Dodgers lineup.
In any event, Swanson enters the 2017 season as one of the guys we are most excited to see development from. He figures to be one of the cornerstones of the franchise located in the heartland of the baseball world for a long time. Early projections on his Fangraphs page have him taking a steady but not huge inclined projection as a ballplayer.