BLUF: Two potential plus offensive tools but no chance to stick behind the plate.
The Player: Will Swanner (C, Colorado Rockies) – Drafted in the 15th round of the 2010 draft, the Rockies gave Swanner nearly $500,000 to sign out of high school. He only played 18 games in the Pioneer League that summer and he hit .303 over that span. Returning to Casper in 2011, Swanner played in 43 games while hitting .264 with 14 doubles and ten home runs. He broke out with a strong 2012 performance that centered around a strong .302/.385/.529 line for Low-A Asheville.
Basis of Report: Compilation –Industry Contacts
Body (6-2, 190): Strong, sturdy body with good athleticism. Good flexibility. Well proportioned, lean and strong. Not a classic catcher’s body.
Hit: Has good bat speed and very good plate coverage. Reaches all parts of the strike zone with ease. Pitch recognition can be an issue. Will go out of the strike zone with some regularity. Uses the whole field well and can make in-game adjustments when he catches himself rolling over a pitch or getting pull happy. Good feel for the barrel. Can get a little too confident at times and will get himself out on pitches he can’t drive. Has easy plus hit projection because of bat speed, feel to hit and good plate coverage. Grade – 30/60
Power: Plus bat speed and natural loft in the second half of his swing. Power projection is present. Very strong with ability to drive the ball to all fields. Could hit 20+ home runs annually with an additional 20+ doubles. Very good power projection that stands out for a catcher. Some power could be sapped because of overly aggressive approach. Grade (raw power) – 50/60
Arm: Has raw arm strength that could earn plus grades. Plays down because of footwork, transfer and throwing mechanics. Lacks accuracy on throws. Has shown little improvement so far. Grade – 40/40
Fielding: Very poor defensive catcher. Has feel for game and can call pitch sequencing at a solid level. Terrible receiver. Boxes pitches and lacks mobility to get to pitches to either side. Not a good pitch blocker. Lots of passed balls and extra bases from runners even when it’s blocked. Struggles to get rid of the ball on steals. Doesn’t control running game. Not a catcher. Grade – 30/30
Speed: Runs better than most catchers with average times from home to first. Position could wear on him and slow him down long term. Could maintain roughly average or at worst fringe-average speed with a move to another position. Grade – 50/50
Summation: Catching experiment won’t last long. Bat will carry him as a prospect. Has a chance to be a plus offensive player and could support a move to an OF corner. Runs well enough for OF as well. Likely a LF because of arm action and need to adapt to outfield throwing mechanics. Chance to hit .285 with 20 home runs and 20 doubles, batting in the fifth or sixth slots in the order. Very solid offensive potential. Must improve approach and swing-and-miss tendencies to reach offensive ceiling. Strong makeup and good feel for the game should allow position switch to be possible and gives him a chance to maximize offensive tools. Chance to be a solid everyday guy on an outfield corner.
Relative Risk: High. Approach has to develop or it could jeopardize offensive ceiling and position switch is required.
Future: Level at a time guy, particularly with a position switch in his future. Could reach Double-A late in 2013 if he mashes in the California League. Unlikely to be a big-league option until 2015 and to make that happen, everything would have to go right offensively and defensively.