Left-handed pitcher Nick Swiney’s junior season, his first as a collegiate starting pitcher, was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in his four starts, he was dominant with a record of 4-0 and a 1.28 ERA in 28 innings pitched to go along with 42 strikeouts.
Being used as a reliever in his first two seasons as a member of the Wolfpack, Swiney proved that he could fan batters at a high rate with his fastball and nasty slider. It was not until this year that he showed what he could do as a starter, something that MLB scouts look for in pitchers.
In a draft report conducted by MLB.com, Swiney was described as NC State’s best pitching prospect since Carolos Rodon, who was selected in the first round by the Chicago White Sox in 2014.
“Professional teams wanted to see me as a starter, and just how I could excel there,” Swiney said. “Just cause that was something not on my resume yet. Everybody had seen me out of the bullpen, but I hadn’t had a true seven, eight-inning start.”
In the shortened season, Swiney was awarded All-American honors, and now he is dealing with MLB Draft noise as a potential first or second rounder. With the MLB Draft scheduled next week for June 10-11, the Huntersville native has been talking to teams, preparing physically and educating himself on the whole draft process that is only five rounds this year, a massive change from the usual 40 rounds.
“In those meetings, [MLB Scouts] kind of want to know how your brain works on the mound,” Swiney said. “...They want to see well-rounded people. They’ll ask about classroom things sometimes, and just stuff you’re interested in.”
Back in his hometown, Swiney has been throwing everyday on Hough High School’s turf football field in Cornelius, North Carolina, and has been working out in his home gym. With the uncertainty for the minor league season, it seems that Swiney will be physically ready regardless of where he goes to play or train after being selected in the MLB Draft.
“There is nothing I can really control,” Swiney said. “It’s all up to, you know, how that MLB season will play out.”
True Blue LA, which is an SB Nation affiliate for the Los Angeles Dodgers, has Swiney being picked up by the NL West champs, with their first round pick at No. 29. While this is just a prediction, it does show the value of Swiney's name. However, it isn’t just one team that is intrigued by the tall lefty; Swiney said that he has spoken to 22 different teams in the pre-draft process.
“I see all those articles,” Swiney said. “I get tagged in them like you said, the late first round to anywhere in the second is what I have been seeing… There are some teams that might have me ranked higher on their boards then other teams, so I really can't look into it too much.”
If selected in the first or second round, Swiney would receive a large signing bonus and with all of the financial issues going on currently with Minor League Baseball players, being selected early would likely clear Swiney of that struggle. If selected late in the first round, Swiney could make up to $2 million.
As a ball player who has dreamed of getting drafted for a long time, Swiney plans to celebrate this accomplishment with friends and family next week.
“I have a lot of family that's going to be coming in so that we can experience this all together,” Swiney said. “I am really looking forward to it.”
It is a shame that Swiney was not able to complete his breakout season, but leaving after his junior season was a no brainer. It will be a good feeling for his family, friends and Wolfpack fans to see such a genuine person get drafted and have the opportunity to live out his life-long dream.
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