Designated Greg Allen for assignment, re-call Travis Swaggerty
At some point the Pirates need to find out what they have in former top-10 overall draft pick Travis Swaggerty. The only way to do this is to give him an extended period of time to either sink or swim in the majors.
It is time for Swaggerty to get that opportunity as the team’s every day left fielder down the stretch. To make room for him on the active roster, veteran outfielder Greg Allen should be designated for assignment.
Earlier this season Swaggerty made his MLB debut but was never given a fair shake. He only got nine PAs, with six being against left-handed pitchers, before he was optioned back to the minors.
At Triple-A this season Swaggerty has had a strong season. He entered play on Sunday with a .263/.352/.425 slash line, 12.0% walk rate and a 109 wRC+ in 359 PAs. Since returning from the concussion injured list in early May, Swaggerty has hit for a .281/.368/.466 slash line, 12.2% walk rate and a 123 wRC+ in 288 PAs.
There’s nothing left for Swaggerty to prove in the minors. Meanwhile, Allen is hitting for a .187/.291/.267 slash line and a 65 wRC+ in 86 PAs with the Pirates this season. Allen has no future with the Pirates and it is time to move on.
Adding Swaggerty does not need to cut into the playing time of other young players, either. The designated hitter can be used to get other young players at-bats. Additionally, while Ben Gamel should remain on the roster, he should not be playing every day. This would open up right field for at-bats to be given to players such as Marcano and Bae.
Regardless of how the final 41 games of the season shakeout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, they need to start putting a greater emphasis on playing for the future and giving young players an extended look. Even though they will likely continue to lose baseball games, that is a much easier pill to swallow when young players who might have a future with the team are the ones on the field while they gain valuable MLB experience.