Former Mudcat Dansby Swanson gets the call from Braves

Atlantas top prospect goes 2-for-4 in MLB debut after starting the season in Zebulon.

Dale Zanine—X02835
Aug 17

Running on four hours of sleep, Dansby Swanson arrived in Atlanta. The No. 1 prospect in the Braves’ system received a huge ovation from the crowd as he ran to the dugout for the first time in his career.It’s a stark change from where his season began in Zebulon for the Carolina Mudcats. But after growing up in Marietta, Ga., and idolizing players from the Braves’ golden era, Swanson was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for his first start with the tomahawk across his chest.”Probably as close to a dream come true as possible,” Swanson said of getting called up. “That’s the only way I can sum it up. Playing for your hometown team, basically going out there and doing what you’ve worked your whole life for is pretty special.”Swanson’s numbers across the minors aren’t staggering, as he hit .275/.362/.426 with nine home runs and 55 RBI. But the power was more prevalent during his time with Mississippi, hitting eight of his nine homers over the final 84-game stretch.Jeff Franceour, a former highly touted Braves prospect in his own respect, gave Swanson some sage advice before his debut.”I told him you get one game to stink and that’s tonight,” Franceour said. “After that you’ve got to start playing.”Swanson wasted no time getting his first hit at the MLB level, though, ripping an opposite-field single in his second plate appearance. He ultimately finished with a 2-for-4 night in a 10-3 loss for the Braves against the Minnesota Twins.But the reason why the former No. 1 overall pick is at or near the top of almost every prospect ranking system is about more than just his bat. He’s a slick-fielding shortstop who already displays the pedigree and maturity of a major leaguer before his first full season with the Braves.”Obviously this is the highest level,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “But the way he’s walking around, he looks very calm, cool and collected.”Brought in during a trade with the Diamondbacks last season, the Braves have clearly gotten the better end of the trade with Swanson. Shelby Miller, who Atlanta dealt for the shortstop, is scuffling in Arizona with a 7.14 ERA over 14 starts, eventually earning a demotion to the minor leagues.Rather than having a shaky starter in a young rotation, the Braves now tout one of the top prospects in the MLB. While he still has a long career ahead of him before he can be seen as a huge boon for the Braves, Swanson has a young group around him ready to help him become Atlanta’s next star.”I didn’t really feel nervous the whole game, really,” Swanson said. “I guess just kind of like the visualization — my whole life this is what I wanted, now it’s here. The guys were keeping it loose and having fun, everybody laughing, so that makes it a little bit easier.”Credit to those guys like Frenchy [Francoeur], Gordon [Beckham] and Freddie [Freeman] for just kind of walking me through it and just telling me to have fun and enjoy it. That’s what I was able to do.”