The Atlanta Braves pulled a shocker, sending shortstop favorite Vaughn Grissom down to Triple-A before Opening Day. Ron Washington remains optimistic.
When the Braves lost Dansby Swanson this offseason to the Chicago Cubs, they remained confident in their internal options at the shortstop position. Seemingly, they felt Vaughn Grissom could eventually replace Swanson, perhaps performing even better at the dish.
The key word in that statement is eventually.
Ron Washington worked with Grissom all offseason, honing his defensive skills at shortstop. However, despite a strong spring training at the plate, Grissom will start his season back in the minors. It was a decision that shocked Braves fans.
Nonetheless, Ron Washington still has hope.
“I’m looking at the process. The process is sustaining, and consistency. That’s what it is. And they’re in the process right now. And they’ve got a very, very, very bright future. It just didn’t happen this spring,” Washington said, per David O’Brien of The Athletic.
Braves: Why didn’t Vaughn Grissom make the Opening Day roster?
So, what’s missing from Grissom’s game?
A good argument can be made for consistency, which is what Washington referenced in his statement. While Grissom’s overall numbers in 2022 — .291/.353/.440 for a wRC+ of 121 in his first 156 plate appearances — were impressive, much of that came prior to September 7. Eventually, Grissom ran out of steam, limping to the finish.
With another stint in Triple-A, Grissom can hone what he’s lacking defensively, and work out a few quirks at the plate while he’s at it. Meanwhile, Atlanta knows what they’re getting from Orlando Arcia. While he doesn’t offer Grissom’s bat, his defensive stability and flexibility are undeniable strengths. The same can be said about Ehire Adrianza, who will back Arcia up.
Positional flexibility and consistency are tough to come by, even in the majors. The fundamentals are important, and that’s something Grissom is still learning.