Astros 2015 Draft Targets: Dansby Swanson

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The Astros are in first in the AL West at the moment, so they might feel the need to upgrade the team for the stretch drive. If the Astros do make some sort of trade, other teams are going to want some of the Astros juicy prospects. Don’t worry Astros fans, I don’t think they will trade their top tier prospects such as Carlos Correa or Mark Appel. However, second tier and below prospects might need to pay attention to the rumors. Jeff Luhnow probably has a list of prospects who he thinks are replaceable, and who he needs to hold onto for the future. Something tells me that Brett Phillips is on that list, but he could also be the best trade bait because of his potential five-tool talent.

The whole purpose of the information above is that the Astros will need to potentially replace some talent in the system and have to pick the best prospect available, so we don’t miss out on another Kris Bryant. The Astros also can’t afford another Brady Aiken situation either, so they must hit a home run with the two early picks. I still think that one of the two early picks will be a pitcher, but the first one should be a shortstop.

Enter the shortstop for Vanderbilt into the discussion for the Astros number two pick. Vanderbilt has been a good feeder system recently with such prospects as Conrad Gregor and Tony Kemp. If Brendan Rodgers is available at number two, the Astros should get him. Swanson will be a good backup player.

Who is Dansby Swanson?

He is a junior shortstop at Vanderbilt, who previously played second base, but moved over to replace someone who was drafted. He could be a plus played if he could play multiple positions because Carlos Correa or Swanson could be moved over to third base when Swanson is ready. While he has not hit for much home run power in college, he does offer double and triple power and speed.

MLB Pipeline Draft Prospects list Swanson as the number three draft prospect. Also from MLB Pipeline is his scouting grades below.

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 40 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55

Stats are from Vanderbilt’s Website (as of 5-5-15);

What is there to like about Swanson? First, his numbers remind me of what Jose Altuve can offer at the plate. He can hit the balls in the gap for extra base hits, can steal a base or two in a game, and can hit an occasional home run. Speed could be an asset if Correa or Swanson moves to third base and Altuve, George Springer, and Jake Marisnick are still Astros.

The above paragraph should answer some of you who are thinking why do we draft a shortstop when we have Correa. Besides Correa and maybe Nolan Fontana, shortstop is a thin position in the Astros system. Shortstop is a weak spot even on the major league roster with the Jed Lowrie injury. Correa is expected to be promoted to Triple-A at some point in May.

Will Dansby Swanson be Available?

The Astros could end up with Brendan Rodgers, with the emergence of Dillion Tate as a potential number one pick for the Arizona Diamondbacks. While Rodgers is still the best available player in the draft, Arizona could go with the flamethrowing pitcher instead. Swanson would be a good backup for the team that misses out on Rodgers. The Astros have gone pitcher-heavy with the early pick the past two years while striking out with Aiken. They need a good draft to continue the process to stay competitive past 2015.

What are Other People Saying About Swanson?

College Shortstops Stick out as Safe Bets by Baseball America,

"“Swanson, off to a .364/.480/.596 start, has shifted to short from second base and was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 College World Series. The biggest issue scouts must judge is his defense in his first full year at short, made more difficult by Vanderbilt’s fast, forgiving artificial surface at Hawkins Field. One national crosschecker said his American League organization has tasked its scouts with evaluating Swanson’s defense only when the Commodores are on the road, on grass.”-John Manuel"

2015 Draft Preview by Viva El Birdo,

"“At the plate is where things start to get really interesting for Swanson, as he brings an outstanding line drive approach and an ability to plug the gaps to go along with a solid understanding of the strike zone. He’s a doubles machine, to Matt Carpenter–ian levels, which could allow him to post above-average slugging numbers in pro ball even without possessing great raw power. He goes to the opposite field as well as any hitter in this year’s class, just as capable of slicing a double down the right field line as he is plugging the left-center gap. He runs well also, probably a 60 runner right now, and could swipe 25 bases a year without any trouble at all, I believe.”-the Red Baron."

I wrote about Brendan Rodgers here.

I wrote about Michael Matuella here.

I wrote about Walker Buehler here.

Keep up with the rest of the series below.

Astros Draft Prospect: Kyle Funkhouser

Astros Draft Prospect: Trenton Clark

Astros Draft Prospect: Walker Buehler

Astros Draft Prospect: Jon Harris

Astros Draft Prospect: Tyler Jay

Astros Draft Prospect: Andrew Benintendi

Astros Draft Prospect: Kyle Tucker

Astros Draft Prospect: Daz Cameron

Astros Draft Prospect: Dillon Tate

Astros Draft Prospect: Alex Bregman

Astros Draft Prospect: Carson Fulmer

Astros Draft Prospect: Dansby Swanson

Astros Draft Prospect: Brendan Rodgers

CTH Mock Draft (First Five Picks)

Next: Astros Minor League Recap April 27-May 3

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