The Braves have done this once already this year, promoting a 21-year-old with hardly any experience at even Double-A and immediately inserting him into the starting lineup. It’s how we got Michael Harris, you may remember.
Could lightning strike twice with Vaughn Grissom? Well, one game in, it already seems like it has. The shortstop-turned-second baseman went 2 for 4 with a home run and stolen base in his big-league debut Wednesday.
OK, so one game rarely tells us anything, but there’s also the small matter of what Grissom was doing in the minors. We’ll check out those numbers in a minute, but first, let’s hear Brian Snitker’s reaction to the performance.
“Nothing fazed him,” the manager said before marveling at the home run. “I heard from the guys that that power’s real.”
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Indeed, it’s true that the most optimistic scouting reports had Grissom developing power to go along with premium bat-to-ball skills. There was nothing cheap about his home run, which cleared the Green Monster and traveled 412 feet. Even his single he muscled up at 97.8 mph.
His production seemed to improve with every step up the minor-league ladder, capped by a 22-game performance at Double-A Mississippi in which he hit .363 (33 for 91) with three homers, seven steals and a .925 OPS. It’s becoming less fashionable to promote prospects straight from Double-A, particularly ones who’ve played so little there, but maybe the Braves’ internal evaluations are just on another level. With Harris’ immediate success, they’ve earned some benefit of the doubt.
Of course, even once we’ve determined Grissom is good, there’s still the question of whether he could be more than just an injury fill-in this year.
Possible waiver wire pickups