Pirates Sign First Round Pick

Bucs sign 10th overall pick Travis Swaggerty

Noah Hiles
June 15, 2018 - 9:53 pm

Photo by: Noah Hiles

Categories: 

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – On Friday afternoon General Manager Neal Huntington sat next to the newest member of the Pirates organization in a press conference as the team officially announced the signing of first round draft pick Travis Swaggerty.

“We are making a commitment to him to give him everything that we have to help him grow mentally, physically, fundamentally and personally; to be the best player he can be,” said Huntington. “We look forward to the day that he works his way through our system and we get the chance to welcome him here at PNC Park.”

Swaggerty, who was selected with the 10th overall pick, is a centerfielder out of the University of South Alabama who hit .296 with 10 doubles, 13 home runs and 38 runs batted in during his junior season. He was the first top ten pick for the Pirates franchise since the club selected Austin Meadows ninth overall in 2013.

 “I am just so thankful for the Pirates for thinking of me as such a high pick to represent the organization,” said Swaggerty after putting on his custom 2018 jersey for some photos.

For a player that entered his junior year as a pre-season All-American and was labeled the 11th best overall prospect in the draft, the road to Pittsburgh was not a smooth one for Swaggerty, who went undrafted out of high school. The 20-year old spoke about how being able to play at the college level, where he had better resources to train and highly motivated teammates around him allowed his game to grow.

After being named first team All-Sun Belt Conference in his first two years with the Jaguars, it became clear that Swaggerty would be an early pick in the 2018 draft. However, for Swaggerty the pageantry and extra attention that came with being a top draft prospect was something he wouldn’t allow to distract him from playing at his best in his final season at South Alabama.  

“It was a whirlwind of emotions, I know that for sure,” said Swaggerty when asked about the draft process. “There is just so much attention and outside noise  going through the process; it is really hard to block out. The main thing for me was to just try and help my team win and not worry about that stuff until it happened and to let everything fall into place.”

Swaggerty then began to talk about how excited he was to join his new team. The Roberto Clemente Bridge and the beautiful skyline were some of the things he said stood out early in his first trip to the steel city. However, the thing Swaggerty said he admired most about his new home is the mentality in which the franchise is run.

“I think the main thing that stood out to me about the Pirates was how family oriented they are,” said Swaggerty. “Most of the guys in the organization are homegrown guys and they’ve been with the Pirates since the start. I really liked that they looked at me as a person before a player. Them being family to me is essential to my success.”

Now with the draft process being completely finished and a $4.4 million signing bonus on the way, Swaggerty said he is ready to get back to doing what he loves most; playing baseball.

“There are no more nerves or anxiety,” said Swaggerty. “I feel like I have the right fit for me and hopefully I am the right fit for the Pirates.”

Swaggerty is expected to start his path to the major leagues in West Virginia as he will play for the Pirates short season single A affiliate, the Morgantown Black Bears, who begin their season on June 15.