Nick Swiney, LHP
BATS: R / THROWS: L
ACQUIRED: Drafted 2020, 2nd Compensation Round
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2023 Ranks: #14 Overall, #4 Starting Pitcher
2022 Performance: After a concussion limited Nick Swiney in 2021, 2022 ended up as his first truly full season in the pros, and he had a season with ups and downs.
Swiney finished the season with a 3.84 ERA, with 105 strikeouts to 45 walks in 89.0 innings. Swiney was kept limited for much of the season as his stamina and workload was a major concern. Swiney was limited to about 4.1 innings per appearance, keeping his innings down. Swiney had six games without allowing any runs, including being part of a 7-inning no-hitter with 5.1 of his own no-hit innings, but he also had six games of allowing at least four earned runs, which helped raise his ERA.
Swiney had struggles against left-handed hitters, allowing a .243 batting average against them and a 1.63 WHIP, whereas he allowed just a .170 average and a 1.05 WHIP to right-handed hitters. Despite facing less than half as many left-handed hitters on the season, he nearly allowed as many home runs to lefties (3) as to righties (4).
Strengths and Weaknesses: Swiney’s best pitch is his changeup, which sits around 80 mph and gets a lot of whiffs, but his fastball sits around 90 mph and is subpar. That pair can lead to a lot of the ups and downs that Swiney had on the season. Swiney’s third pitch is a mid-70’s curveball that has a lot of break but is inconsistent.
Swiney’s biggest weakness is his control, which is something he’s struggled with much of his pro and amateur career. He had a 4.55 BB/9 ration in 2022, and he won’t be able to survive on that, even if he’s been hard for batters to get hits off of so far.
2023 Outlook: Swiney should be headed out to Richmond for the 2023 season. There, he has three goals to work on: his control, his velocity, and his stamina. He’ll be challenged by the more advanced Double-A hitters while he does that.
Future Profile: Swiney has the ceiling of a back-of-the-rotation starter with his plus changeup being able to miss bats. However, his floor is a lot lower than most pitchers, as a relief role won’t work well for a pitcher with a low fastball velocity and control issues, and his reverse split against lefties limits his value as a specialist.