Pittsburgh Pirates Draft: Travis Swaggerty’s Timeline

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted outfielder Travis Swaggerty 10th overall in this year’s draft, many wondered how he would fit into the team’s outfield.  So what is his MLB timeline?

On Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates shocked many by taking University of South Alabama star outfielder Travis Swaggerty.  The reason it was a shock was mainly because the Pittsburgh Pirates were connected to prep pitchers leading up to the draft.  There were big names like Mathew Liberatore, Cole Winn, and even top college arm Brady Singer were still available.  After taking primarily bats since 2013, and with their current outfield logjam, many assumed the team would not look at an outfielder of all things.  Well, instead the team decided to go with the top college bat on the board.

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently have a logjam in their outfield.  Starling Marte is the team’s scenter fielder and best all-around player on the roster. His contract runs with two team options through 2021.  Then there is Gregory Polanco.  Polanco might have the biggest upside out of any player on the roster.  He showed this promise and received a contract extension that runs through 2023.  Now he is not living up to that contract, but yet the team does not seem ready to move on from him.  Next up is Corey Dickerson, the current leader in batting average on the team.  He is locked up through next season.  Then of course is Austin Meadows.  Meadows was the team’s first-round pick in 2013 and was named the Rookie of the Month for May.

When Could he Be Up?

So how does Travis Swaggerty fit into this timeline?  Well for starters he has to take care of his own business.  Being his a high draft pick out of college likely means he will go to Single-A.  Realistically the soonest that Swaggerty would be able to reach the majors would be for the 2020 season.  Even if he moves quickly, it would not be until late in the 2019 season at the soonest.  However, as Pittsburgh Pirates fans know, the team does not push prospects all that quickly through the system.

Moving Pieces

Still, let’s pretend that he is more in the near term future than long term.  How does he fit in?  Well, first Corey Dickerson might not be here by trade deadline of 2019.  In fact, he could be gone as soon as this trade deadline.  With the team starting to flounder they very well could look to trade off some pieces at this deadline.  Dickerson will be entering his last year of his club control in 2019.  He is currently in the arbitration process, and if he keeps performing the way he is right now, he will get a hefty raise on his current $5.9 million deal. Meanwhile, Meadows needs to be put into the lineup permanently.  With the team struggling and Dickerson performing, the return might be too good to pass up.

Then, of course, comes the tough issue. Gregory Polanco is not performing…again. When he struggles he looks completely lost. The fanbase is starting to get frustrated with him. Many expected last year to be the year that he put it all together, yet here we are still waiting.  So his time here in Pittsburgh may also be starting to come to an end by next year.

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Starling Marte is not going anywhere.  He is the team’s best player and will not be dealt until the season before his final year of control.  Austin Meadows has shown why he was considered one of the top outfield prospects in baseball.  The other two are the most expendable for many reasons going forward.  However, as stated earlier, Swaggerty needs to take care of his own business first in the minors.  If he does, and there is no room in the outfield, then it will be a good problem to have for the Bucs.