Ok, so technically Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Travis Swaggerty already got a chance in the big leagues. He was called up for a brief stint with Pittsburgh last season and collected his first big league hit.
However, while a handful of players received extended looks in the big leagues, Swaggerty only appeared in five games and received nine at-bats.
Most of Swaggerty’s season last year was spent with Triple-A Indianapolis. With the Indians, Swaggerty hit .254 with nine home runs, 55 RBIs and 20 steals in 107 games. He posted a wRC+ of 102, meaning he was slightly above league-average at the plate.
This spring, Swaggerty really stood out with his performance. The 2018 first-round draft pick slashed .379/.471/.690 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 19 games.
Since Swaggerty has been a strong defender throughout his minor league career and is a capable center fielder, it looked like he could be on his way to breaking camp with the Pirates for Opening Day.
That is no longer the case as the Pirates optioned the 25-year-old back to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.
That begs the question — what does the Pirates’ prospect have to do to get back to Pittsburgh for more than just a couple at-bats?
If Swaggerty is able to carry over his spring success to the regular season once Indianapolis begins play, he could essentially force the Pirates’ hand in getting called back up to the big leagues.
It seems apparent, however, that the current regime may not be as high on Swaggerty as the previous one which made him the 10th overall pick in 2018.
In 2022, Pirates’ prospects such as Cal Mitchell, Tucupita Marcano and others all received their first extended looks as big leaguers and saw plenty of time in the outfield. Swaggerty did not.
There were plenty of opportunities for the Pirates to bring him up, but those opportunities were often given to other players.
Can Swaggerty get into the good graces of Ben Cherington and the rest of the Pirates’ front office this season? Or, will the Pirates continue to overlook him if a potential opportunity arises?
Time will tell, but Swaggerty will need to perform this year if he wants a real shot.