The Padres, under A.J. Preller, in recent years have shown a propensity to grab prep athletes early in the draft.
Even reaching for some guys that may not have been slotted at that particular spot. Hudson Potts comes to mind.
This year, the Padres should go a different route with the draft. With the seventh pick of the draft, A.J. Preller and the Padres should take a chance on University of South Alabama’s Travis Swaggerty.
The left-handed Swaggerty is from Denham Springs, Louisiana. Even though he was an All-State player at Denham Springs High School, he was not heavily recruited. Swaggerty had to earn everything he was given and he has turned into arguably the best outfield prospect in the draft. He is a guy that can change a game with his bat. Ever since he set foot at South Alabama he has hit.
As a true freshman, Swaggerty was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team, where he led the Jaguars with a .303 batting average and .431 on-base percentage, while also hitting 12 doubles, four home runs and stealing 20 bases. He hit safely in 44 of his 59 games played and even had a 35 game on-base streak.
His sophomore season saw him do much of the same, hitting .356 with a .484 on-base percentage, stealing 19 bases for the Jaguars. Those numbers led to an invite to Team USA during the summer of 2017. In the wood-bat tournament, Swaggerty appeared in 19 games, ranking second in hits with 21 and recorded an on-base percentage of .449, showcasing the talent on a national level that the Sun Belt Conference had witnessed for two seasons.
This year, as a junior, Swaggerty was named a preseason first-team All-American by many baseball news outlets. He rewarded them by getting on base nearly 46 percent of the time, while hitting thirteen home runs and slugging .537.
— David Seifert (@DSeifertD1PBR) February 18, 2018
Currently, Swaggerty is ranked in the top ten on most of the prospect lists. He is a polished player who has shown he can hit at a high level. The Padres need a player like this. With the amount of prospects working their way through the lower level of the minor leagues right now, the Padres need to grab a player that is closer to being major league ready, so that he can contribute once the wave of “Hot Talent Lava” makes their way to Petco.
The Padres need to select the best player on the board and not necessarily the one with the highest upside, which should be Swaggerty.
Additionally, Swaggerty has never been given anything in his baseball career. He has had to go out there and earn every single second of his playing time. He is someone who grinds and something like that is a quality that will lead to future success. He knows what it takes to beat expectations. The outfielder understands the day-in, day-out push he needs to give in order to get the best out of himself and the perfect guy to add to a rebuilding organization hoping for greater success.
Since he was a little kid he wanted to be one of those guys at the game who had the headset on, listening to the Colonel and Uncle Teddy, he has grown out of that, but the love is still there. Padres’ coverage will be biased at times, but mostly an honest dissection of the team he loves.