Pittsburgh Pirates Minors: Travis Swaggerty Impresses in Triple-A Debut
By Marty Leap
With the start of the 2021 minor league season on Tuesday night Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Travis Swaggerty made his Triple-A debut and it was an impressive one
With the 10th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected outfielder Travis Swaggerty. The University of South Alabama product was viewed by many as the top college hitter in the 2018 draft and it was a bit of a surprise that he was still on the board at number 10 overall .
Swaggerty quickly began to rise through the Pirate farm system. The left-handed hitting Swaggerty skipped the Low-A level to go straight to High-A in 2019. This was the beginning of aggressive promotions for Swaggerty.
During the 2019 season Swaggerty rewarded the aggressiveness of the former front office of the Pittsburgh Pirates by being named a Florida State League All-Star. He hit for a .265/.347/.381 slash line to go with a 10.9% walk rate and a 120 wRC+ with the Bradenton Marauders.
The aggressive promotions for Swaggerty continued this season. General manager Ben Cherington and the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to have Swaggerty skip the Double-A level, sending the 23-year-old straight to Triple-A.
Tuesday night Swaggerty made his highly anticipated Triple-A debut. In his debut with the Indianapolis Indians the outfielder impressed, displaying why he is the top outfield prospect in the Pirate farm system and a top 100 prospect in baseball.
You know what they say about first impressions and Swaggerty’s could not have been better. Batting lead off for the Indians, Swaggerty led the game off with a home run.
Swaggerty collected a second hit later in the game, as well as drawing his first walk at the Tirple-A level. In 4 trips to the plate on Tuesday night Swaggerty was 2-for-3 with his lead off home run, a walk and 2 RBI.
The 2021 season could be a big one for Swaggerty. Outside of Bryan Reynolds the Pirate outfield play has been, to put it lightly, poor this season. The Pirates have already designated a pair of outfielders for assignment and Gregory Polanco is once again on the injured list. If Swaggerty performs well at the Triple-A level there is a real possibility that he earns a spot in the Pirate outfield by the end of the 2021 season.
Without a minor league season in 2020 Swaggerty was at the alternate training site for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Swaggerty credits many of the strides he has made to his work at the alternate training site. Cherington has also said that Swaggerty was one of the most consistent hitters at the alternate training site last season, as well as this season before the Triple-A season started.
Pirate fans need to keep an eye on Swaggerty this season. He could find himself as a starting outfield for the Pirates, and that could be sooner rather than later. The Swaggerty Era is almost here.