Travis Swaggerty

TRAVIS SWAGGERTY, CENTER FIELDER
Born: August 19, 1997
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 1st Round, 10th Overall, 2018
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of South Alabama
Agent: N/A

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE

The Pirates were heavily linked to prep players, especially pitchers leading up to the 2018 draft, but with a lot of those options still on the board they went with Swaggerty.  The center fielder is a five tool talent who projects to have the defense and arm to stick in center field.  Baseball America gives him a future 60-grade defensive potential, along with an above-average to plus arm on defense.  Offensively, scouts believe he can be at least an average hitter with 60-grade running ability, and fringe-average to average power.  The power is the one thing arguably lacking, although he does profile well for a guy with a small frame.  Keith Law and FanGraphs ranked him fourth among draft prospects, while BA and MLB.com ranked him 11th.

Swaggerty got off to a hot start at the plate in his junior year with South Alabama, with a 1.316 OPS in the first few weeks, but cooled off and finished with a .296/.455/.526 line by the end of the season.  He drew a lot of walks, with a 20.9% walk rate, and struck out in just 13.95% of his plate appearances.  He was, though, facing weak competition, which adds perspective to the rest of his numbers, and the scouting reports suggest that he has some swing and miss.  He showed some good power, with 13 homers and a .230 ISO, but the poor competition disclaimer comes into play, and he might not carry that same power rate over to pro ball.  Swaggerty signed shortly after the draft for $156,200 below the slot amount.

2018
A-:  288/365/453, 139 AB, 9 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 15 BB, 40 K, 9-12 SB
A:  129/225/226, 62 AB, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 BB, 18 K

Swaggerty went initially to Morgantown and hit well without dominating.  His slugging average was good when you consider that the league average was .346.  In mid-August, the Pirates moved Swaggerty up to West Virginia and he got into 16 games there.  Things didn’t go well at all, obviously.  Overall, he hit LHPs much better than RHPs, with an .887 OPS vs. .643.  He showed range and arm in line with his reputation, although he had some error issues, with seven total.

2019
A+:  265/347/381, 457 AB, 20 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR, 57 BB, 116 K, 23-31 SB

Swaggerty had a decent first two months at Bradenton before slumping badly in June.  He finally got hot in July and hit well the rest of the season.  His monthly OPS:

April:  .701
May:  .701
June:  .489
July:  .822
August:  .906

Overall, Swaggerty’s line was comfortably above the anemic Florida State League norm of 242/313/353.  For some reason, he had a large reverse platoon split, with an OPS of .845 against LHPs and .699 against RHPs.  Swaggerty made much better contact after those first three months:  he struck out in 25% of his plate appearances through June and 18% afterward.  He showed very good range in center and had seven outfield assists.

Hopefully, Swaggerty made adjustments in the last two months of 2019 that will stand up going forward.  He should open 2020 in AA and it’d be good to see him reach AAA during the season.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2020: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus:  $4,400,000
MiLB Debut: 2018
MLB Debut:
MiLB FA Eligible: 2024
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2021
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 4, 2018: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1st round, 10th overall pick; signed on June 15.