SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
28. Nick Swiney, LHP
Highest Level: Low-A (San Jose)
Acquired: Draft (2020)
Future-Value Grade: 40
Coming into his final season at NC State last spring, Nick Swiney was an intriguing pop-up prospect, moving from the Wolfpack bullpen to rotation. The pandemic shortened season left evaluators just four official starts to work off of. He was undeniably dominant, striking out 42, walking just 6, posting a 1.29 ERA across 28 innings of work. The SF Giants were willing to bet on that breakout and selected him with the compensatory pick the team received when Madison Bumgarner signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Sadly, no one has gotten to see much of Swiney this year after he suffered a severe concussion. He slowly worked his way back to the field and is now back at Low-A (where he started the year), but Swiney seems like an obvious candidate for the Arizona Fall League. While he’s primarily faced younger competition at the Complex League and Low-A, Swiney has dominated, recording a 0.52 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched.
The southpaw doesn’t have traditional overpowering stuff. His fastball has returned to sitting between 89-92 mph after bumping up to the low-90s last spring. His thin 6’3” frame could be a place to look for more velocity, but weight gain will probably be more necessary to handle the wear and tear of a full season than help him add velo.
His changeup and curveball are his best offerings. The breaking ball projects as above-average and gets some plus grades. However, he made substantial strides with his changeup heading into his junior season, and it has continued improving since he’s turned pro. With that said, Swiney’s command is notably behind his arsenal. While he flashed far better control in his final college season, Swiney’s walk rate has regressed this year, approaching 15%.
If it all comes together, Swiney has mid-rotation potential despite his low-velocity fastball. However, he’ll need to show that he can regain more consistent command of his pitches going forward. If he only develops average command, Swiney should be able to find success as a swingman or long-reliever.