Nick Swiney, LHP
BATS: R / THROWS: L
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2020, 2nd Comp. Rd
LAST LEVEL: Low-A
VOLATILITY: Very High
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #3 Starting Pitcher, #10 Overall
Performance: We still aren’t sure why it happened, and we may never know. But the highest-drafted pitcher the Giants took in the 2020 draft missed most of 2021 thanks to a concussion. He had an outstanding first start in May, going four shutout innings, allowing a hit, two walks, and striking out six. And he disappeared for the better part of two and a half months, making his return near the end of July.
Swiney had a 1.13 ERA across five short appearances in the Arizona Complex League as he came back from the concussion, with 16 strikeouts to six walks in 8.0 innings. He returned to San Jose, finishing with a 0.74 ERA across seven starts, 42 strikeouts and 12 walks in 24.1 innings. He did not allow his first earned runs until his final game in San Jose.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Swiney uses his low-90’s fastball to set up his best pitch, his changeup in the low 80’s, which he uses to get his strikeouts. His fastball does have good vertical movement, which helps despite its rather low velocity. He also has a high 70’s curveball with promise. The Giants may try to add a fourth pitch, probably a cut-fastball to increase his repertoire.
Swiney lives off of his deception, but his control is a little below average. He averaged five walks every nine innings in his shortened debut, though it’s hard to read too much into a relatively small sample size. He will need to manage the walks as he moves up the system.
2022 Outlook: With such a shortened 2021, it’s really hard to predict Swiney’s future. It’s reasonable to think that he might return to San Jose to start the season, or get a push up to High-A to prove himself.
Future Profile: At his best, Swiney has an interesting mix of pitches that can be built upon, working upon deception and the ability to collect strikeouts. There’s a lot growth for Swiney, but his debut showed a lot of promise. He could fill the role of a lefty in the middle of the rotation, but he does carry some reliever risk, as a multi-inning southpaw in a setup role.