During his junior year at South Alabama, Swaggerty showed both the power-speed combination that made him an intriguing prospect and the contact issues that concerned some scouts as the Draft approached. The Pirates saw enough of the former to take him 10th overall in the 2018 Draft, but over his first summer and then the first half of his first full pro season, the swing-and-miss was a problem. The outfielder turned things around in the second half, however, finishing with an OPS over .900 in the second half.
Swaggerty initially struggled with the push to the Class A Advanced Florida State League in 2019, moving too much in the box and getting real big, which opened him up too much and caused his head to move too much. He cleaned a lot of things up mechanically, cutting down on his movement and getting a better feel for his lower half. The greater efficiency allowed him to make more contact and drive the ball more consistently. He had reverse splits, hitting lefties very well all year, something that can be addressed with better pitch selection against right-handers.
Swaggerty’s speed still played on both sides of the ball, and with his high walk rate, he should continue to get on base and be a basestealing threat. He has the range and instincts to play center field long term with an above-average arm. The Pirates feel they saw the real Swaggerty in the second half of 2019 and think that version will show up consistently as he moves up the ladder.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
Swaggerty was lightly recruited out of the Louisiana high school ranks, and after not being drafted, he headed to South Alabama. Swaggerty jumped on the radar with a huge sophomore year and performed well for Team USA that summer, building anticipation for his junior year in 2018. That turned out to be a bit inconsistent for the outfielder, though he did hit 13 home runs. The Pirates liked the overall resume enough to take him No. 10 overall, and he reached full-season ball in his debut summer.
Swaggerty has the potential to have at least big league average tools across the board. The left-handed hitter has an incredibly patient approach, getting on base a ton, which should allow him to use his speed to his advantage frequently. There's a bit too much swing and miss at times, often offset by that walk rate, as he can get too aggressive at the plate. That was particularly true in 2018, when some felt he was trying to sell out for power too often. He does have the kind of raw pop that should allow him to naturally find the seats without taking him out of his gameplan at the plate.
The speed that makes Swaggerty a basestealing threat also allows him to cover a lot of ground in center field, where he has every chance to stay long-term. He has a strong arm from the position to boot. Swaggerty's all-around tools and plus makeup should give him the chance to be an impact everyday center fielder in the big leagues.