Shortstop Dansby Swanson, the number one pick in the 2015 draft who was stolen from the Diamondbacks in the Shelby Miller heist, made his debut late last year, but fell exactly one at-bat short of exhausting his rookie status. He now becomes the marquee attraction and the franchise's premier building block as the rebuilding Braves open their new stadium, SunTrust Park. Although the parallel isn’t perfect, the situation calls to mind one from the past of Atlanta's president of baseball operations, John Hart: In 1994, while he was the general manager of the Indians, the team moved into Jacobs Field, put rookie Manny Ramirez in the lineup and a year later began a run of five straight division titles. The Braves don't have nearly as much talent around Swanson now as Cleveland did around Manny then, but was clear in Swanson's 38-game cameo, in which he hit .302, that the Georgia native is ready for a larger role and could soon become the face of the franchise.

 

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