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SF Giants Prospects

SF Giants 2020 MLB draft grades: What you need to know about each pick

SF Giants hat in the dugout. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
SF Giants hat in the dugout. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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Who the Giants took: Nick Swiney, LHP, North Carolina State

67th overall pick
Expected Signing Bonus: Slot value
Future-Value Grade: 35+
Grade: B

Giants scouting director Michael Holmes built his reputation in the Carolinas and he’s been very keen on tapping into his history over the past two cycles. Swiney joins former teammates Wilson and Bailey in San Francisco’s system out of NC State.

There was no consensus on Swiney among public scouting heads. FanGraphs ranked Swiney the 51st best prospect in the draft and Keith Law of The Athletic ranked him as worthy of a first-round pick (22nd overall), but most other boards had him ranked around 80.

Swiney fits the pitching profile that the Giants have seemed to favor over the past couple drafts. The southpaw doesn’t have traditional overpowering stuff, his fastball works in the low-90s as a starter and sat around 93-95mph out of the pen.

His fastball works alongside a changeup and curveball. The breaking ball projects as above-average and gets some plus grades. However, he’s made some notable strides with his changeup and it looks like it could be a usable big-league pitch as well.

Working out of the bullpen through his first two seasons, Swiney racked up strikeouts, but it came with sacrificed control. As a sophomore, Swiney struck out 95 batters in less than 60 innings but walked nearly 5 batters per innings.

Out of nowhere this spring, Swiney moved into the rotation and through four starts seemed like he’d reached a new level. He didn’t lose too much velocity in the rotation and he showed newfound control, walking just 6 batters in 28 innings across 4 starts. More importantly, he maintained the same kind of swing-and-miss punch, striking out 13.5 batters per nine.

Law believed Swiney was going to pitch himself into the back-end of the first round if the season hadn’t been cut short. Pitch-tracking data seems keen on Swiney’s fastball movement to help it play beyond its velocity as well. While the track record remains short-lived, there is plenty of reason to believe he can be a mid to back of rotation arm.

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