Mariners Draft Watch: Travis Swaggerty, the best name in the draft
By Chris Davis
By the time the MLB draft actually rolls around, we will all have heard the story of Billy Beane telling this group of scouts that “we’re not selling jeans here” between 300-500 times. Beane was right of course. It doesn’t matter what a player looks like or who he dates, so long as he can rake.
But in the case of one prospect, his name does matter. His name is Travis Swaggerty and if the Mariners have the chance they should draft him with the 14th pick. Not only is he one of the best players in college baseball, he also happens to have the best name of any player in recent draft history.
A great name is a quality that Beane would have laughed off, but Swaggerty’s name is almost too good to pass up. The addition of Dee Gordon to the mix this year added a much needed “swag” and how better to continue the trend than adding a player who literally has “swag” in his name. Oh and another thing, the kid can really play.
Swaggerty projects as a future leadoff hitter who can eventually develop power. At 6’0 tall and 180 lbs, Swaggerty is not physically imposing but is able to generate power through a long-striding swing, similar to what Mitch Haniger would look like from the left side.
However, it is not Swaggerty’s power that is likely to be his ticket to the big leagues. His speed and ability to get on base are his calling cards. Swaggerty has posted an OBP over .430 in each of his collegiate seasons and recorded an impressive sub 6.5 sixty yard dash.
In addition, Swaggerty has an impressive ability to avoid strikeouts, in 2018 he has struck out only 36 times while recording 49 walks. This ability combined with the possibility of adding 20 plus home run power to his hitting repertoire makes Swaggerty an ideal prospect and one that Jerry Dipoto would likely fall in love with.
In the field, Swaggerty’s speed makes him a likely future centerfielder with a plus arm having recorded a 92 mph fastball in high school. With good instincts, it is possible that Swaggerty could be the centerfielder of the future but his best fit is likely in left where he would be an ideal fit alongside Dee Gordon in center and Mitch Haniger in right. Slotting him in late in the order early in his career then eventually moving him to the leadoff spot would be ideal.
Overall Swaggerty is a decent fit for the Mariners as they eventually will have to rebuild. His long-term projection is Brett Gardner with more power and possibly more upside. His plate approach is also very similar to Jean Segura, a free swinger who can drive the ball all over the field.
Unfortunately, he also profiles closely to a certain Mariners legend (for all the wrong reasons) Dustin Ackley, but this should not give Mariners fans pause if he ends up as the Mariners pick in the first round. While Ackley’s bat was really his only plus tool Swaggerty has speed, and plus fielding to go along with his bat.
Next: The Next Mitch Haniger? A Third-Round Idea for the Mariners
Currently, Swaggerty is slotted to be off the board within the first ten picks. If he is available at pick 14 Mariners fans should be salivating. When you combine his skills and production with the best name in the draft, he makes for an ideal Mariner.