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Well, this is a surprise.
The Braves traded Erick Aybar to the Tigers Wednesday for a lesser player and a younger player, neither of whom is worth mentioning because that's not the surprise. Trading a marginal veteran for anything it can get is basically standard operating procedure for a rebuilding club.
No, the surprise is the corresponding move. The Braves plan to replace Aybar with none other than Dansby Swanson, president John Hart announced Tuesday.
The same Dansby Swanson who's considered the best of their bevy of prospects. The same Dansby Swanson who they stole from the Diamondbacks in the even-worse-than-it-first-appeared Shelby Miller deal. The same Dansby Swanson who was the first overall pick in last year's draft.
He'll be a major-leaguer as of Wednesday.
Which, again, isn't a surprise in and of itself. His arrival at some point was all but assured. But now as opposed to September or even next year given his marginal production at Double-A Mississippi? I mean, his numbers between Mississippi and high Class A Carolina don't exactly scream stardom:
But he's already 22 and grades off the charts in makeup and every other intangible. Prospects like him are simply biding their time in the minors, and a lot of times, their numbers reflect it. Bryce Harper, another former top overall pick, didn't dominate any level, and yet the Nationals called him up as a 19-year-old anyway. And for all his ups and downs, he has been nothing short of a Fantasy mainstay since.
That's not to say Swanson is Harper or even deserves the benefit of the doubt in the short-term. After all, no infield spot is lacking in depth this year. But if you're hurting at any of those positions, it's probably shortstop, particularly if you put all your trust in either Trevor Story or Aledmys Diaz. Orlando Arcia hasn't exactly panned out yet, and Swanson may be the higher-probability replacement.
But I wouldn't drop just anybody for him. Brad Miller, with the kind of run he's on, is more deserving of a roster spot, and Addison Russell, Zack Cozart and Didi Gregorius are probably more reliable than you can expect Swanson to be from the start. I rank him 20th at the position, alongside Jung Ho Kang. Both have the upside to rise quickly at the position, but you have to limit your expectations for both.
Of course, if you're only looking to fill a bench spot rather than a lineup spot, Swanson becomes an even higher priority.