A Louisiana native, Swaggerty attended high school in Denham Springs and garnered All-State baseball honors in 2015, having success as both a hitter and pitcher during his prep career. Undrafted, he stepped into the starting lineup with the South Alabama Jaguars as a freshman in 2016 and performed well, hitting .303/.431/.422 with 20 steals, 42 walks, and 49 strikeouts in 218 at-bats.
He added some power in 2017, hitting .361/.487/.567 with 10 homers, 19 steals, 47 walks, and 43 strikeouts in 208 at-bats. Swaggerty then played 19 games with the Team USA Collegiate squad in the summer of 2017, hitting .328/.449/.406 with six steals in seven attempts while drawing raves for his defense and speed. He didn’t show as much power as he did in the spring but otherwise his tools stood out and got his name into the hat for the ‘18 draft.
In 2018, Swaggerty is hitting .312/.481/.580 with 10 homers, six steals in 10 attempts, 40 walks and 25 strikeouts in 138 at-bats.
Swaggerty is listed at 5-11, 180, a left-handed hitter and thrower born August 19, 1997. He’s at least a 60-runner with some 70-grades and also has an effective 55-60 arm that works in center field. When he’s right he shows impressive knowledge of the strike zone and works his way on base, making him a potent leadoff force.
He didn’t have much power three years ago but that started to change in the spring of ‘17 and has continued this year, his isolated power numbers rising from .119 as a freshman to .206 as a sophomore to .273 this year.
On the other hand he’s had an occasional rough game as noted by Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs in early April, Swaggerty appearing “off-balance” with his swing. That could just be a case of the “I must hit for power!” pressing in front of cross-checkers and does not seem to have hurt his draft stock. Certainly his overall numbers have held up and no one doubts the tools.
There’s talk Swaggerty could go in the top five picks. Comps range from Andrew Benintendi (an overzealous comp according to McDaniel and I agree with him) and Brett Gardner (MLB.com’s comp). He might also be similar to Tyler Naquin, though Naquin is a bit taller and has a L/R hit/throw profile rather than L/L like Swaggerty.
My feeling is that Swaggerty’s position in the draft is in flux right now. He could go very early, but he might also slip to the middle of the first round depending on how teams assess his approach. I doubt he would slip anywhere beyond that, since even with some consistency questions he still projects as a regular.
Here’s some Perfect Game video:
One from 2080 Baseball: