Atlanta Braves coach Ron Washington has worked with Vaughn Grissom all offseason, and he likes what he sees.
Replacing an All-Star like Dansby Swanson is no easy task, and Atlanta is by no means placing all their eggs in Vaughn Grissom’s basket. But for now, the 22-year-old will enter Spring Training with a chance to compete for the starting shortstop job.
Grissom is a native shortstop, but he’s tall and lanky for the position. His work with Ron Washington this offseason, however, suggests he could transition there with ease. Grissom also has experience at second base and, if called upon, could move to the outfield.
When asked about their training sessions, Washington suggested that Grissom has made much progress, though he still has room to grow.
“Growth. I see things that I didn’t see earlier,” Washington said on Grant McAuley’s podcast. “He really, really, really wants it, and he’s been putting in the time to deserve it. I think the fans have to just be patient.”
Braves: Ron Washington remains confident in Vaughn Grissom
Washington discussed how the majority of his work with Grissom was in footwork and defensive ability. Very few of the shortstops Washington has worked with in the past improved right away, but Grissom is different in that regard. He’s made immediate strides.
Grissom was forced to play second base last season thanks to the injury to Ozzie Albies. As Washington said, “he was trying to survive.” Grissom did just that, remaining in the lineup primarily because of his bat.
“He’s got a skillset, that I feel, he can be a major-league shortstop. Now, will that happen overnight? It didn’t happen overnight with Dansby. It didn’t happen overnight with Marcus Semien. It didn’t happen overnight with Miguel Tejada…and all those names I just named are pretty good players,” Washington said. “But I like the growth and I like the attitude. I like the commitment to the work ethic. He will be a different looking guy.”
If Washington is correct, Grissom could be a Swanson replacement by the end of the 2023 season.