The Atlanta Braves are headed back to the postseason and will earn a first-round bye. This comes after a second consecutive season in which they lost one of their big-name, homegrown talents via free agency. After the 2021 season, first baseman Freddie Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This past winter, shortstop Dansby Swanson left for the Chicago Cubs on a lucrative seven-year, $177 million contract. Just before the end of the regular season, Swanson returned to Atlanta in what would be an emotional trip.
In the top of the second inning, Swanson stepped into the batter's box with two runners on base. The crowd at Truist Park erupted in cheers upon seeing Swanson, who stepped out of the box and acknowledged the crowd by tipping his batting helmet.
Braves give Dansby Swanson standing ovation in shortstop's return to Atlanta
Ahead of the game, the Braves played a video tribute to Swanson on the jumbotron at the ballpark. Swanson watched it from the dugout, then tipped his cap to the crowd.
Swanson was the hometown kid for the Braves, as he grew up and went to high school in Marietta, Ga. After attending Vanderbilt, Swanson was selected first overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks. But after one year in the organization, Swanson was traded to the Braves in a deal that sent starting pitcher Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks. The move paid off for Atlanta in the long run.
In the 2021 season, Swanson was part of the Braves team that brought Atlanta their first World Series title since 1995. In 2022, Swanson made the All-Star Game for the first time and won his first Gold Glove.
Overall, Swanson recorded a .255 batting average, a .321 on-base percentage, a .417 slugging percentage, 102 home runs, 411 RBI, 433 runs, and 755 hits.
In his first year with the Cubs, Swanson made it to the NL All-Star team for the second year in a row and played a role in the team making a push for a postseason berth at the end of this campaign. In 142 games with the Cubs, Swanson slashed .250/.330/.427 while recording 22 home runs, 78 runs, 80 RBI, 137 hits, 150 strikeouts, and 63 walks in 548 at-bats. At shortstop, Swanson recorded a .980 fielding percentage after posting 181 putouts, 363 assists, and 11 errors in 555 total chances.
While he may play for Chicago, he still has the support from fans in Atlanta.