One of the reasons I love this crazy game of baseball is because every day you come to the ballpark, you have a chance of seeing something you never have before. Wednesday night, Dansby Swanson entered the record books as he registered his first career home run. But, it’s not so much the fact that he tallied a homer as it is how it happened. In the second inning, he stepped to the plate facing Gio Gonzalez with the bases empty and two outs. Swanson crushed a 92mph fastball high off the wall in center field, missing the conventional homer by just a mere few feet. But, Swanson had no time to admire his blast as the ball got away from center fielder Trea Turner. In less than 15 seconds, Swanson rounded the bases, crossing the plate with a headfirst dive as he was awarded with an inside-the-park homer.
Swanson’s ITP homer was the first recorded by a Brave since Wes Helms accomplished the feat on October 7, 2001. Additionally, he became the first Brave player to hit an ITP home run that was also the first homer of his career since Paul Runge on July 28, 1985. While it’s been 15 years, Swanson is now the 19th player to accomplish the rare feat of the inside-the-park homer since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966. While ITP homers are a rarity in the Big Leagues, they’re not so uncommon to Swanson who also tallied a pair of them this season in the Minors.
I know we talk about the future and the potential this club has with the depth of young talent, but consider a lineup in 2017 that could feature the likes of Ender Inciarte, Mallex Smith, Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies. Mix that speed and contact with power hitters like Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp and likely a catcher that gets added this winter and the lineup suddenly looks like one of the more formidable ones in the NL.
@KevinMcAlpin covers the Braves for @680_The_Fan and the @BravesRadioNet.