Swiney Makes 'Giant' Leap Into Second Round

With the pick they got as compensation for losing Madison Bumgarner to free agency, the San Francisco Giants turned to another left-handed pitcher from North Carolina, NC State's Nick Swiney -- who opened the team's eyes while they were scouting teammate Patrick Bailey
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The San Francisco Giants received the 67th pick in this week's Major League Baseball draft as compensation for losing starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner as a free agent to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Bumgarner is a North Carolina native who grew up in Caldwell County.

To replace him, the Giants used that 67th pick to take another left-handed pitcher from the western half of the state.

Nick Swiney doesn't come to the Bay Area with the same degree of fanfare as Bumgarner, who as the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft. But the team is nonetheless high on the prospects for the Charlotte area native who played the past three seasons for NC State.

"The great thing about him is he's not only left-handed, but we've seen him with a plus changeup and we've seen him with a plus breaking ball and we think there's velocity in there," Giants scouting director Michael Holmes said of Swiney in a teleconference Thursday night.

"His fastball characteristics will play in all quadrants of the strike zone and he's got a competitive edge to him. We think he's going to be a vital starting piece for us for a long time to come."

Swiney was the second Wolfpack player in as many rounds to be selected by San Francisco in this year's draft. His batterymate, catcher Patrick Bailey, was the Giants' first round pick at No. 13 overall on Wednesday.

While it's only a coincidence that the team took two players from the same school in the first two rounds, the Giants' opinion of their newest pitcher was formed in part through their scouting of his college catcher.

Swiney is the third Wolfpack player acquired by San Francisco over the past year. The Giants also picked up shortstop Will Wilson, a 2019 first round pick of the Los Angeles Angels, in a trade.

"Nick Swiney's a guy, obviously a teammate of Patrick Bailey at NC State," Holmes said, "and a guy we were able to get a lot of looks at not only this year, but in the past."

Although he was an effective pitcher out of the bullpen during his first two seasons with the Wolfpack -- pitching to a 1.75 earned run average with 59 strikeouts over his final 12 appearances as a sophomore -- Swiney gave the Giants a lot more to see during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

Moved into the starting rotation by State coach Elliott Avent, he showed he showed that he could be effectively stretched out by going seven or more innings in each of his four starts. 

His most dominant performance came on Feb. 29, indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in the Cambria College Classic. Facing Purdue, he gave up a hit in the first inning then returned the final 22 hitters he faced, striking out 15 on the way to a a 6-0 shutout victory.

He was 4-0 with 1.29 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 28 innings when the season was halted on March 12.

"He moved into that starting role at NC State this year and really flourished," Holmes said.