The Atlanta Braves have 3 middle infielders in Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Johan Camargo but do they have a true shortstop? Their are a few layers to this question and that is what I want to dive into.
The current shortstop for the Braves is Johan Camargo. Camargo has been off to a hot start in 182 at bats has hit .292. While this is a good thing I am not sure if the can maintain those numbers throughout his career moving forward. I also believe Camargo in the long run profiles as more of a .250 or .260 hitter with versatility and a nice option off the bench late in games. The Braves just trade Sean Rodriguez so this gives you even more of a reason to believe a utility role is in his future as a Brave. I believe the only way he plays everyday is if the Braves are happy with his defense at shortstop just like they were when Andrelton Simmons was here.
This brings us to Dansby Swanson who was the marketed shortstop of the future for the Braves. He is supposed to be the new face and shortstop for the next 12 years. There is only one problem with this and it’s a big one. I don’t think he is a shortstop. Defensively he fits as a second baseman. Just by watching Camargo and Swanson at shortstop Camargo is the premier defender over Swanson yet they are pushing Swanson as their shortstop. You know this is the case just by watching the games. For example when it was late in the game and they made a defensive switch Swanson would come in as the shortstop and Camargo would move over to second base to take Brandon Phillips spot. Maybe they are playing Swanson at shortstop so they can keep his value higher should they decide to trade him. Truly though for proper player development their play on the field will naturally determine their long-term position.
Ozzie Albies is the wildcard in this whole situation. He had exclusively played shortstop in the minors until they acquired Swanson. John Coppolella has even said Albies can play shortstop. Why not let Albies play some shortstop and see if he can play it at the big league level. Maybe the Front Office thinks he can be a good shortstop but a Gold Glover at second base so you leave him at second.
The fundamental answer to the question is yes the Braves have a true shortstop between the three. I believe Camargo is a true shortstop. The Braves have options since they are out of the playoff hunt these last two months. Now is a great time to decide which player can play at each position. When Swanson comes back up the big leagues why not rotate all 3 at each of those positions and find your shortstop and second baseman at the highest level.
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