The Cardinal Nation/Scout.com Player Profile
(including links to full 2011 and career stats)
School: Arizona State University
Selected 2011 stats
CariocaCardinal (11): Jordan Swagerty pitched so well and advanced so fast as a prospect in 2011 that I had actually forgotten that he didn't play an inning in 2010 and that 2011 was actually his first year in the minors (not counting a brief AFL stint). Swagerty also seems to be forgotten when people look at the Cardinals' future, as he is seldom mentioned as being a part of the rotation or the bullpen when people speculate who might be on the team in 2013 or 2014.
Swagerty is said to have both a major league curveball and a major league changeup. Those pitches combined with a solid low-90's fastball should allow him continued success as he moves up the ladder. If striking out nearly a batter an inning and a near 4:1 K:BB ratio wasn't enough, Swagerty gets a decent number of ground balls as well.
Swagerty was reliever in college but the Cards converted him to a starter this year (before moving him back to the pen at the end of the season due to workload issues). I would expect him to continue as a starter in to 2012, though whether his long term career will be as a starter or a reliever will probably not be decided until some point in the future. I would expect Swagerty to be in the Springfield rotation to start 2012 and if he pitches nearly as well as he did in 2011, he should be in Memphis by the end of the year.
Message board community (11): Swagerty rose from 32nd in the community rankings last year to 11th this year, receiving two votes as early as 6th.
There was a spirited discussion about Swagerty's upside and his role, with varying reports of his velocity and offspeed pitching. One eyewitness reported a fastball at 92-93 mph, but great offspeed stuff. Two others reported Swagerty throwing 94-95 (especially in relief). One reported (from info gleaned from a scout) that his offspeed stuff had not graded out as above average (though having a slurve that when used in relief was above average). BA reported he had the best breaking ball in the FSL.
Swagerty began the season as a starter, blowing through Quad Cities in just five starts with 30 strikeouts to just two walks. Split between starting and the pen at Palm Beach, he fanned 52 in 54.1 innings with 16 walks. He did walk five in his 9.1 IP. Righties had an OPS of only .421 against Swagerty, whereas lefties managed .666.
He's only going to turn 23 on Bastille Day (look it up), so he is of a good age for his level, and he reached Double-A in just his first year. If the breaking stuff can work well for Swagerty as a starter, he becomes a very interesting option for the rotation. But if it doesn't he seems an interesting option out of the pen. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (9): In a way, it seems fitting that Roy Oswalt has been in the center of the Cardinals rumor news in recent hours. After all, the 34-year-old has pitched 11 years and won 159 games in the majors at a listed size of 6-feet, 190 pounds.
It is a good reminder to someone who ranked Swagerty at number 25 on his personal list last year, as I did, to not sell the Cardinals prospect ‘short.' Even though Swagerty is slight-of-build at 6-foot-1 and 172 pounds, it doesn't mean his physical stature alone should stop him from enjoying success as a starting pitcher. Of course, he will have to continue to earn it via his mound performance.
As noted above, in his first professional season in 2011, Swagerty had a very impressive rise through three levels of the Cardinals system and as such, he made my personal top 10. I bristle when I read others suggesting Swagerty may pitch too aggressively to be an effective starter. Until/unless he proves he cannot start, I hope he will continue to be challenged in the 2012 rotation at Springfield, then Memphis.
Here is a reminder of what he can do. In his last starts of the season, his seven starts at Palm Beach, the 22-year-old had a more impressive stretch than other more-heralded hurlers for that club this season. That list includes Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez. Swagerty did not allow a run three times while logging a 2.23 ERA, fanning 30 and walking 10 in 36 1/3 innings. His ground out to fly ball out ratio was 3.13:1. Florida State League right-handed hitters logged an aggregate .352 OPS (yes, OPS) against him. That is big-time domination.
Our 2012 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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