Travis Swaggerty Gets the Call

Travis Swaggerty

Travis Swaggerty gets the call as the Pittsburgh Pirates added him to the big league roster this past weekend. The centerfielder is considered one of their top prospects. He will get a chance to showcase his potential, and have an opportunity to stay with the Pirates for the rest of the season.

Received Attention

The Pirates selected Swaggerty in the 2018 MLB Draft, tenth overall. The 24- year-old is considered one of the best defensive outfielders in all of minor league baseball due to his speed, and his accurate throwing arm. He received a lot of attention from baseball scouts for those skills. However, because of his lack of playing time the past few seasons, he needed to work on his hitting.

Slow Progress

Swaggerty’s progress in the Pirates’ minor league system was slowed due to injuries and the fact that there was no minor league play in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He played only 12 games at Triple-A Indianapolis last season due to a shoulder injury that shut him down. Swaggerty required surgery, then healing and rehab for over five months.

He was also sidelined during the 2022 Spring Training with soreness in his left shoulder. Once healthy, he was optioned to Indianapolis.

At Indianapolis

Travis Swaggerty got the call and while at Triple-A Indianapolis where he was hitting .280 with five doubles, two triples, four home runs, and 22 RBI. Defensively, he had 48 putouts and had a .981 fielding percentage. He also showcased running down many hit balls in the alley.

Did Show Improvement

In 2019, he was showing improvement due to some adjustments with his swing and his overall approach at hitting. However, not having played in many competitive game situations since 2019, the Pirates will need to evaluate Swaggerty’s hitting to determine whether he can hit MLB pitching and how much work his hitting might still need.

Hitting Will Determine His Success

While there was some offensive improvement, it’s the hitting issue that could determine whether or not he can become a regular everyday player at the MLB level. The Pirates, however, could certainly use his defensive skills. They are currently last in fielding in baseball. His defensive skills should keep him around as a fourth outfielder with an occasional spot start if his bat is an issue. Listed as a centerfielder he will most likely see action in all three outfield spots and at DH.

Group of Prospects

If he struggles, the Pirates, have other young outfield prospects to consider. They could option him back to Triple-A and bring up Ji-hwan Bae and Canaan Smith-Njigba for a look.  Two other prospects in Calvin Mitchell, and Jack Suwinski are already on the big-league roster and making an impact.

Pirates Rebuild

Travis Swaggerty gets the call and the future of the Pirates is starting to come to the forefront with players like Swaggerty and others drafted over the past few years. We know the Pirates are in the midst of a rebuild. The good news is that they have one of the top farm systems in baseball, with many publications ranking them in the top-ten.

 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Travis Swaggerty, Ji-hwan Bae, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Calvin Mitchell, Jack Suwinski