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The Vaughn Grissom Experiment is Over In Atlanta

Vaughn Grissom got his shot at the Major Leagues and disappointed Braves country. Braden Shewmake gets the call to back up Arcia.

On Sunday morning, the Atlanta Braves optioned SS Vaughn Grissom to Triple-A Gwinnett after taking SS Orlando Arcia off the IL. This comes just one day after they called up SS Braden Shewmake to play in place of Grissom. At the beginning of the season, almost everyone expected Grissom to be the everyday shortstop. So much so that when Arcia won the starting job over Grissom, people in Braves country were irate.

In 2022 Vaughn Grissom came up for the injured 2B Ozzie Albies. While filling in at second base, the Braves saw great potential in Grissom based on how he hit the ball. During his time at second, nobody was blown away by his skill on defense. The rookie made four errors and had a .973 fielding percentage. Those are not awful stats, but they will carry someone at shortstop in the Major Leagues going forward.

Grissom Goes into Spring Training with the Support of Braves Country

Fast forward to Spring Training, the entire baseball world knew Grissom would be the Braves’ starting shortstop. The now second-year player spent the entire winter down in New Orleans with Third Base Coach Ron Washington doing drills and getting ready to fill the hole SS Dansby Swanson left in the six spot.

Arcia Gets the Nod at Short

Spring training did not go as planned for Grissom. He never looked comfortable at short, and he continued to make some confusing plays. As training went on, the Braves started to see things they didn’t like. Per usual, Grissom’s bat stayed hot. Having a big bat cannot necessarily carry a player in a position like shortstop. Defense is the essential part playing shortstop. Dansby was a prime example of what a shortstop should be. His bat would get hot occasionally, but he was out there every day not to hit homers, but because he kept people off of bags.

At the end of Spring Training, the Braves announced that Orlando Arcia would be the starting shortstop this season. Braves country was infuriated by the news, then the season started, and they forgot all about their anger for the team. Arcia was lights out to start the season. He was hitting .349 with a .899 OPS. Sadly, Arcia then took a fastball to the wrist and found himself on the IL.

Grissom Gets his Shot in the Majors

When Arcia went to the IL, the Braves chose to call up Grissom, and even though fans had been loving Arcia, a lot of people were hoping that Grissom would come in and blow the doors off, showing that the organization made the wrong choice to give Arcia the spot. At first, Grissom came in and did what everyone expected of him. His bat was rolling, and he was finding a way to get on base every time. Then the ball started coming to him. Braves country lost years of their lives when the ball went to short.

In just 18 games, Grissom committed six errors. That number is baffling, especially for Braves fans that have watched Dansby Swanson, who only committed eight errors in 158 games last year. Grissom showed he is not a capable shortstop, at least at the moment. To make matters worse, his offense has disappeared, as Grissom is sporting a .622 OPS with zero home runs.

Is Shewmake the Future?

Last Friday, Braden Shewmake came up to the big leagues to make his debut, given Grissom’s recent struggles. Shewmake was hitting .243 with an OPS of .738 in 24 games at Gwinnett. These offensive numbers aren’t the best, but recently his bat has been popping. In college at Texas A&M, Shewmake kept an average above .300 every year.

Shewmake entered just one game in the majors due to Arcia’s quick recovery. It is very interesting that the Braves chose to option Grissom back down instead of Shewmake. It seems that the Vaughn Grissom experience has ended in Atlanta. Now the club has two options, should they put Grissom in the outfield and get him to fill the hole the Braves currently have in left field? Or they can use Grissom in a trade to get more prospects or even someone else that could fill the hole in left field.

The Vaughn Grissom experience has been a whirlwind of emotions for Braves fans. Every year there seems to be a slow start that somehow makes them so far back that they have to pull off an even crazier feat than the previous season. Braves came back from 10.5 games in June to win the NL East in 2022. That is not the case so far, as they hold a comfortable lead in 2023.

As of now, it seems that the Braves have moved on from a future with Grissom at short. Orlando Arcia seems to continue to make great plays for the team. It is still unknown what the plan is for Shewmake, but as of now, it seems he is part of the team.

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