Trying to establish who has been the Atlanta Braves‘ biggest contributor in their most recent run – one that saw them come close to the New York Mets, exactly 5.5 games back – usually leads us to players like Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, or Max Fried.
What if we told you that Dansby Swanson has been the main reason why the Braves were able to come back in the standings after a mediocre start?
Would you believe that?
The Braves’ shortstop has been, with 2.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), the most valuable position player in baseball in the last 30 days.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) June 21, 2022
WAR helps us determine how much a player has contributed in hitting, base running, and fielding over his hypothetical replacement.
As the graphic indicates, no one beats Swanson in the last month.
Swanson Is Having A Career Year
The infielder, who is set to become a free agent after the season, is hitting .293/.361/.466 with nine home runs, 41 runs scored, 37 RBI, and even 11 stolen bases.
Oh, and he is playing some strong defense at shortstop, too, so he gets a lot of points.
He has been one of the most complete players in baseball, and is having a career season.
Swanson has been just as important, if not more, than Acuna, Riley, Albies (when he was healthy) Fried, Charlie Morton, Spencer Strider, Travis d’Arnaud, William Contreras, and other important contributors.
It’s just that he is not quite a household name like Acuna, Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., or Mookie Betts, just to name a few.
Swanson is not quite as talented as any of those hitters, but when it comes to WAR and helping his team win in the last 30 days, there has been no one like him in MLB.
The numbers don’t lie.