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Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: DANSBY SWANSON SS ATLANTA BRAVES

What a different a year makes huh?  Last March the fantasy baseball hype for Atlanta Braves shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson was immense to say the least.  Having been the number 1 pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Swanson carried as big a prospect pedigree as you could get given that selection spot and so he had more than his fair share of suitors during fantasy baseball drafts last spring.  As so often happens though, Swanson failed to live up to the Derek Jeter comparisons as he sank to just a .232 average and it all of 6 home runs in 551 at-bats.  Making matters worse was the fact Swanson was so bad early on during the year that the Braves were forced to send him back to the minor leagues.  With that as a disappointing backdrop, Swanson was mostly a forgotten man as 2018 fantasy baseball drafts got underway but that instantly turned him into a value play who was now in position to be a post-hype sleeper made good.  With the season now more than three weeks old, it certainly looks like Swanson is fitting that post-hype sleeper mode as he goes into Thursday's action with the following numbers:

.358
2 HR
9 R
11 RBI
1 SB

Those are tremendous numbers no matter how you slice it and Swanson is so far showcasing the high batting average talent and moderate power/speed game that was so talked about last spring.  Clearly, moving Swanson down in the order has helped in that is has lessened the pressure to produce but now we have to determine if this is something that can be sustained or if in fact it is just a fluke which will be corrected. 

Digging into the advanced numbers is always the way to go when facing such a dilemma and it is here where things start to get less murky.  What jumps out right away is that Swanson's .440 BABIP is simply ridiculous and is in no way sustainable.  That alone means Swanson's average will take a tumble real soon and it could be stark.  Making this an even bigger concern is Swanson's tiny 5.6 BB/9 which shows impatience on his part and thus, another avenue where the batting average will slide.  While his 21.1 K/9 rate is pretty good for a young player, Swanson's BB/9 and BABIP numbers ensure there will be trouble ahead and he doesn't hit home runs or steal bases at a high enough rate to offset things enough.  So if you are holding stock in Swanson at this moment, talk up his big start and still solid prospect name and see what you can get out of it  Troubling times are going to be ahead before you know it. 

TREND OR MIRAGE:  MIRAGE

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