Drafted number ten overall by the Pirates in 2018, Travis Swaggerty has not quite lived up to his first round status during his time in Pittsburgh’s system. Ranked in the eighties by MLB and Baseball Prospectus heading into the 2019 season, only Keith Law still had the University of South Alabama product in his top one hundred for 2020 and he dropped out completely for 2021. The drop was a result of going .265/.347/.381 during the 2019 High A season while also struggling with pitch selection and a high strike out rate. A power hitter in college who sported a .571 slugging percentage with eleven home runs in fifty-eight games his sophomore year, the Louisiana native had difficulty making contact during his first two years in the Pirates minor league system. He worked to retool his swing halfway through the 2019 season however, and the effect was noticeable. In August of 2019 Swaggerty had his best month ever in the minors, hitting .337/.416/.490 over 115 plate appearances in twenty-seven games. The improvement at the plate, in combination with his skill in the field, is a step in the right direction for the former USA Collegiate National team member. He still has a ways to go in terms of development but Pirates fans should be encouraged by the twenty-three year old outfielder’s promise.
While Pirates fans have reasons not to write off Swaggerty yet, collectors don’t seem to feel the same way. Since the Pirates season ended there have been less than thirty sales of Swaggerty’s first Bowman Chrome autograph card of any grade or variation. Of the sales that were made, the sold prices don’t reflect much confidence in the former first round pick. The ten most recent sales of his 2018 Bowman Draft card average out to $17.70. Since June, only three sales have broken the $20 mark as well. The lack of enthusiasm around the Bucs number six overall prospect likely comes from a combination of factors. The first and most obvious is his drop from multiple top one hundred lists. In addition to those exclusions, there isn’t much buzz around the Pirates after their dreadful 2020 season. While that may change due to Pittsburgh’s strong minor league pipeline, Swaggerty is buried in that system. He sits behind Nick Gonzales, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Oneil Cruz, all of which have received much more hobby attention. Despite all these strikes against him, Swaggerty has shown an ability to adapt and improve. If he is able to carry that with him into the majors he could become a solid contributor for the black and yellow. At the right price Swaggerty could be a good low risk addition to a collection. It is unlikely that his card value will skyrocket but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a solid bump that holds steady once he is called up.
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