In 2016, Dansby Swanson played his first full season of professional baseball at high-A ball and then Double-A before being promoted to the major leagues with Atlanta. Playing in 38 games in 2016 for the Braves, he burst on the scene and hit .302 with three home runs and 17 RBI.

   Expectations were high for 2017.

   Unfortunately, the former No. 1 overall draft pick struggled at the plate and in the field. After hitting under .200 in the first few months of the season with Atlanta, he was sent down to Triple-A in late July. After being called back up to the majors in August, he was able to get his batting average up to .240 by September. However, he still ended 2017 below the expectations many had placed on him, including himself. But Swanson says what he went through last year was worth it in learning about himself, about God and about moving forward.

  "When everything is going good, you don't make any adjustments," Swanson said on the That Sounds Fun Podcast. "Failure teaches you so much. We talk about God's timing is everything. There's so many things I can start to list out that His timing is everything and me struggling last year was one of them. Last year was miserable. But I'm so tremendously thankful that I went through it."

  It seems hard to believe, but Dansby is still just 23 years old. There are so many younger players who have made their way to the roster of the youngest team in the Major Leagues, that he sort of seems old by comparison. Mike Soroka (20) Ronald Acuna, Jr. (20), Ozzie Albies (21), Luiz Gohara (21) and Johan Camargo (24) among the many not quite as old as Swanson.

  And the surprising Braves are 41-29 in first place in the National League East 3.5 games ahead of the preseason favorite Nationals. The biggest lead in the Majors. And Dansby is currently second in the National League among all shortstops in the All Star voting.

  In 2018, Swanson wants to improve on his season, but says he simply wants to be himself and appreciate the blessings that God has given him.

   Dansby, born just up the road in Kennesaw, was originally the first overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. But, the Diamondbacks were desperate for quality pitching and made what appeared then and still appears to be a foolish move.