As we try to identify the next great Red Sox team, we tend to highlight either players who are already here, like Rafael Devers, Triston Casas, and Brian Bellew, or potential players who are upcoming, like Marcelo Mayer, Roman Anthony, and Kyle Till. .
And we skip right past von Grissom.
In the midst of a lackluster offseason, it's easy to forget that the Red Sox made one interesting move for a potential part of the future. The trade of left-hander Chris Sale to the Braves wasn't without risk, but chief baseball officer Craig Breslow believes Grissom is worth it.
Now the young player will be given every opportunity to prove it, as he comes into spring training as the favorite to open the season at second base, with his minor league numbers indicating his bat will absolutely play, as long as his glove allows it.
All Grissom knows is that he has surpassed some of the most iconic prospects in Atlanta's vaunted system Homer in his first appearance at Fenway Park in 2022He lost his starting job last year, and may never get a better opportunity than the one waiting for him here.
“The Braves gave me the best opportunity I could ask for,” Grissom said recently. “I don't want to say I blew the opportunity, but things didn't go the way I wanted, I guess. When one door closes, the next one opens. So I'm happy to be where I am.” at present.”
He's not taking anything for granted, though, as five of the seven players who received the most reps at second last year are no longer in the organization, and the remaining two — Pablo Reyes and Emmanuel Valdez — are not considered full-time.
Grissom has a chance to make the job his own, especially if he contributes to even an average defense. There's no doubt about his ability to hit, as evidenced by his .320 lifetime average in the minors since being selected in the 11th round of the 2019 draft, or even his .287 mark in parts of two big-league seasons.
He thinks he learned something last season, when the Braves let homegrown All-Star Dansby Swanson leave in free agency and then turned the search for his replacement into an internal competition. Many considered Grissom the favorite, but veteran Orlando Arcia beat him out in spring training, and outside of a few spelling spells for injured second baseman Ozzie Albies, Grissom spent most of the season in Triple-A Gwinnett, where he hit .330 in 103 games.
He will bring a different mentality in his quest for the second base job this spring.
“I don't know why in Atlanta, I felt a lot of pressure,” Grissom said. “I was kind of thinking about everything I was doing. I feel like I have a good opportunity here to go and play. Obviously second base is a lot closer to first, so I have a lot of time to throw. When I first played second base with the Braves, I was young . Now that I have some experience and have some knowledge of the game, I think it will be a lot simpler and easier.”
Grissom just turned 23 and should be the youngest player on the Opening Day roster, unless one of Florida's prospects surprises us. But he doesn't act like anything is being handed to him.
“I still believe with all my heart that I am fighting for a job,” he said. “You've got to keep it like that, bro. (Nick) York, Marcelo, all these guys are coming, you know what I'm saying? You've got to act like there's someone in front of you. There's got to be something.” You can't settle just because they traded Chris Sale or something, like, “He's a great name and he's done great things, so I'll get a chance.” This doesn't make sense to me.
“When people say, 'That's it, you're the guy,' no. I still have to go to spring training. If I strike out every batter, I'm not the guy. If I leave five balls past my legs, I'm not the guy.” It could happen like this. So I'm not trying to settle for nothing.”
There's always a chance Sale finally stays healthy and gives the Braves the 30 starting spot the Red Sox have been waiting in vain for in 2022 and '23. The Red Sox can live with that if Grissom turns into the player they believe he can be — which is as much a part of the future as the youth he joins and even younger ones on the way.