Nick Swiney, LHP
DOB: February 12, 1999
BATS: R / THROWS: L
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2nd Round Comp. (#67), 2020
LAST LEVEL: N/A
GiantFutures Ranks: #6 Starting Pitcher
Performance: Swiney was drafted out of North Carolina State, where he had just been converted into a starter, and over the four games he was able to start, he had a 1.29 ERA, striking out 42 and walks 6 in 28 innings. This was a big change from his freshman and sophomore seasons, where he was primarily a reliever, with a 5.24 ERA in 2019 in 26 appearances, and a 3.52 ERA in 2018, his freshman year.
Throughout it all, even with a high ERA, Swiney was a strikeout machine. In 2019, he collected 95 strikeouts in 56.2 innings, a 15.1 SO9. But the big differences for Swiney in his senior year was that his walks dropped significantly (from a 4.9 BB9 rate in 2019 to 1.9 in his brief 2020), and hits allowed dropped a bit, from 6.4 H9 rate, to 4.2.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Those strikeout numbers show why the Giants were interested in drafting Swiney. His strength comes from a plus curveball, which is a wipeout pitch that has been his out pitch. His fastball is more average, which varies from the high-80’s to low-90’s.
The biggest change for Swiney in 2020 was his changeup, which was much better this season, and it completely opened things up for his repertoire. He hasn’t been able to show it for a full season yet, but it definitely made a change for him.
Right now, Swiney needs to show that his 2020 spring numbers were not a small sample size mirage, and that he can keep doing what he did as a starter for a full season.
2021 Outlook: Swiney’s biggest job is to prove he’s a starter, and I expect to see him in Low-A San Jose doing that. There will be a lot of eyes on his stuff and his stamina over a full season, as Swiney hasn’t even had a full college season as a starter, much less a pro season.
Future Profile: There’s still a bit of a question of Swiney’s future role. The Giants definitely hope he’ll be a starter going forward, and his strikeout ability would be a great asset in the role. That would sit well in the rear half of the rotation. But his fastball is pretty average, and if his newfound control doesn’t stick around, the Giants may push him back to the bullpen, where he can be more dominant and with a better fastball in shorter spurts.