The Pirates are in agreement with first-round pick Travis Swaggerty, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). The former University of South Alabama center fielder’s deal, which is still pending a physical, will promise him a $4.4MM signing bonus. That checks in a bit shy of the No. 10 overall slot’s value of $4,560,200.
Swaggerty, 20, was one of the more well-rounded bats in the draft. His junior season with the Jaguars saw him bat .296/.455/.526 with 13 homers, 10 doubles and nine steals (14 attempts) over the course of 57 games and 277 plate appearances. Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs ranked Swaggerty fourth in the draft class, as did ESPN’s Keith Law (subscription required). Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com rated Swaggerty 11th among draft-eligible prospects, as did the team over at Baseball America (subscription link).
Swaggerty draws average or better ratings for each of his tools, with his current calling card coming in the form of plus speed and defense in center field. He drew plenty of walks this season, and most scouting reports agree that he’s added some strength and lift to his swing, giving him solid power potential as well. MLB.com’s report suggested Brett Gardner as a loose comparison, noting that Swaggerty has more power and less speed than Gardner had at this point in his career. Fangraphs’ report notes that he has some mechanical issues in his swing that prevented him from performing at a level that’s more commensurate with his tantalizing set of tools, so the Pirates will work to further hone his approach at the plate as he transitions into pro ball.