What to know about new Red Sox second baseman Vaughn Grissom

BOSTON — Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow took a big swing on Saturday, sending lefty starter Chris Sale to Atlanta in exchange for infielder Vaughn Grissom. Breslow said Saturday night that he foresees the 22-year-old Grissom as Boston’s everyday second baseman.

“Second base is an area of need for us,” Breslow said in a conference call after the trade. “We view him as someone that can play every day.”

In dealing Sale, the trade subtracted a starter from a Boston rotation that desperately needs arms. But Sale’s injury history made him an unreliable piece of the rotation, and while Boston will pay $17 million of Sale’s 2024 salary, the trade does free up roughly $8.5 million for Breslow to work with this offseason.

It also gives the Red Sox a promising second baseman who is under team control for the next six seasons. Here is what you need to know about Vaughn Grissom.

Who is Vaughn Grissom?

Grissom was born on January 5, 2001 in Orlando and went on to play at Paul J. Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida. He was an 11th-round pick by the Braves in the 2019 MLB draft, and decided to forgo his commitment to play at Florida International University to sign with Atlanta. 

Grissom made his professional debut for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Braves in 2019, slashing .288/.361/.400 with three homers, 23 RBI, and 22 runs scored over 44 games. 

Grissom hit his first career homer at Fenway Park

Grissom is familiar with Fenway Park, as he made his MLB debut with the Braves in Boston on Aug. 10, 2022. He was called up before playing at the Triple-A level, and made the most of his opportunity.

The then-21-year-old Grissom had himself a day, going 2-for-4 at the plate and crushing a 432-foot, two-run home run in the seventh inning. Grissom absolutely smoked the Darwinzon Hernandez offering over the Green Monster, and showed off some style with a sweet bat flip.

Vaughn Grissom Hits First Career MLB Hit/Home Run! by
573 Baseball on

Not bad for his first career hit in the big leagues.

Grissom added a single in the ninth inning and then stole second to make some MLB history, becoming the youngest player in major league history go yard and steal a base in their debut.

Grissom swung a solid bat in Triple-A in 2023

Grissom was in the running to be Atlanta’s starting shortstop in 2023 following the departure of Dansby Swanson, but Orlando Arcia won the battle thanks to his stellar glove.

While Grissom had a three-week stint with the Braves from mid-April to early May, he spent most of his 2023 season raking for the Gwinnett Stripers in Triple-A.  He slashed .330/.419/.501 over 102 games, and drove in 61 runs while clubbing eight homers and 36 doubles over 397 at-bats.

He doesn’t strike out much, either, fanning just 66 times over his 468 plate appearances.

Grissom had a long on-base streak at Triple-A

Grissom’s OBP was so high last season thanks to a 45-game on-base streak, which started with a two-hit game on June 28 and went all the way the Stripers’ final series on Sept. 19. During that streak, Grissom also put together a 14-game hit streak.

Grissom needs to improve in the field

While Grissom’s bat is impressive, his defense needs some work. His defense cost him a shot at being Atlanta’s everyday shortstop last season, and the Braves had him play some left field in the Puerto Rican Winter League over the offseason. (Which Grissom was open to doing.)

Grissom has played 44 games in the majors at second, committing four errors for a .974 fielding percentage. In 21 games at shortstop, he had a .914 fielding percentage, committing six errors in 70 chances.

The Braves really liked Grissom

Grissom endeared himself to the Braves organization with his commitment and a great attitude. When Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos told Grissom about the trade, explaining that Atlanta needed more pitching, Grissom told him, “I can pitch.”

Hopefully the Red Sox don’t have to rely on position players to pitch too much in 2024.

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