Vaughn Grissom was a trendy breakout pick in fantasy baseball drafts this offseason, and it wasn’t hard to see why. When the former 11th-round pick (no relation to Marquis, by the way) got his chance with the Atlanta Braves last year due to Ozzie Albies’ injury, he thrived, hitting .291 with five homers and five steals across 141 AB — a roughly 20/20 pace if prorated across a full season. Atlanta then let Dansby Swanson leave in free agency, and the message seemed pretty clear: Grissom was the team’s shortstop of the future.
Things didn’t quite play out that way, though. Grissom was always a bit of a stretch defensively at short, with a smaller stature and fringy arm strength that make him a more natural fit at second base. The Braves started giving Orlando Arcia starts during Spring Training, and when Arcia responded by hitting the cover off the ball, Atlanta gave him the Opening Day job — and sent Grissom back down to Triple-A Gwinnett, much to the consternation of fantasy managers who’d taken him inside the top 200 of drafts.
Orlando Arcia got hit by a 98-mph high fastball.— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) April 12, 2023
The Braves shortstop is staying in the game. pic.twitter.com/kKgEY7wLJT
But the MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint, and the Braves were always bound to need Grissom again at some point sooner rather than later. That point arrived this week, after Arcia — who’d carried his strong spring performance over into the regular season — suffered a microfracture in his wrist after being hit by a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds.
Arcia was placed on the injured list on Thursday, and sure enough, Grissom has been called up to play shortstop in Friday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals.
The #Braves today recalled INF Vaughn Grissom to Atlanta and placed INF Orlando Arcia on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left wrist.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 14, 2023
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Grissom is that he didn’t hang his head about not making Atlanta’s Opening Day roster. Instead, he just kept on raking in the Minors, posting a 1.043 OPS with a homer and two steals with Gwinnett over the first two weeks of the season. Now he’ll get another chance to take the Braves’ shortstop job and run with it, and given his potential contribute in just about every category save for runs (Atlanta will probably put him at the bottom of the order, at least to start) he should be a priority add in fantasy leagues of every size.