When the season started without Dansby Swanson at Double-A, many wondered why. A handful of games into his promotion to the Southern League, Swanson has been busy making up for lost time.
Atlanta's top prospect continued his hot start at the new level, going 4-for-5 and scoring the eventual game-winning run in the ninth inning as Mississippi edged Tennessee, 8-7, on Wednesday night at Smokies Park. The M-Braves won for the third time in four games since Swanson's arrival.
"This guy, he's come in and jelled right away. It seems like he's been here longer than he's been," Mississippi hitting coach Garey Ingram said. "The other guys are gravitating towards him. He's [fit] in perfect. He's a ballplayer, man. He asks a lot of questions and he pays attention to the game. To be honest, I think he's going to help some of our guys that are here or that have been in this league before, all our team because he pays attention to close detail."
Last year's top overall Draft selection singled to left field in the first inning, scoring on Willians Astudillo's base hit in a four-run Mississippi first. He beat out an infield single to third in the second, then grounded into a double play in the fourth. In the sixth, he grounded a single to center that drove in Dian Toscano.
In the ninth, Swanson authored his biggest moment of the night. The Vanderbilt product hit his Minor League-leading 14th double to left with one out, and three batters later, raced home on a wild pitch to break the tie.
"He's at third base and the ball went in the dirt, and it kicks off the umpire's leg out front," Ingram said. "He has the perfect jump and gets the go-ahead run. That's the kind of stuff that brings energy to our team. The guys are really pumped up. He's heads-up, man.
"The kid is very smart. I know he went to Vanderbilt, but as far as baseball savvy and knowing the game, I think that's gotten him an edge as well, especially being up here now with these older guys and prospects in Double-A. He's shown nothing but very good things since he's been here."
Since his first Double-A game on April 30, MLB.com's No. 6 overall prospect has cranked a go-ahead home run (in his debut), ripped an RBI single to give Mississippi the lead for good (in Monday's victory) and scored the game-winner. That's no accident, according to his hitting coach.
"I heard from someone in my past playing days that once you get to a level that you're supposed to play at, your skills and talent come out of you more," Ingram said. "You haven't seen the depth of this guy."
Swanson is batting .471/.500/.765 through four games for Mississippi, crushing a level he was preparing to see weeks ago.
"In Spring Training, when he got sent down from big league camp, he was working out with the Double-A team," Ingram said. "He fit in just as quickly then as well. I was really paying close attention to how he was preparing himself. This kid, he's a very good preparer."
Tyler Maun is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.