BY: ED COLE
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s been quite a day for Dansby Swanson; making a return trip to the College World Series, then being taken No. 1 by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2015 MLB Draft just a little while later.
“Yeah, it’s a perfect stage for him,” Diamondbacks’ scouting director Deric Ladnier said. “For this town and this organization to be able to witness what we just selected – live basically – is pretty special.”
A lot of baseball experts saw the Diamondbacks taking Swanson with their first pick. After all, this is a young man who was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award – which is given to the nation’s top collegiate player – and someone who was recently named second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Swanson also earned MVP honors at the Nashville Regional.
“We’re just really excited about this pick today,” Diamondbacks’ senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson said. “Talk about a premium, middle of the diamond player. (He) has a chance to impact the organization here in the future. Great makeup and character. We’re looking forward to watching him finishing up his College World Series, and putting on that Diamondback uniform.”
Watson says he and Ladnier had a chat with Swanson earlier in the day, but they didn’t tell him he would be their choice; he found out when everyone else did. As far as his contract goes, and where he’s going to fit in, Watson says the team will let Swanson take care of his business in Omaha, Neb., then they’ll get down to the “meat and potatoes” of getting the paperwork knocked out.
“That’s always tough to say. These guys get here when they’re ready. They will let us know when they’re ready to come up to this level,” Watson said. “He’s (Swanson) an advanced player. We don’t foresee him starting in the Arizona Rookie League by any stretch of the imagination. He’ll need a little downtime post-College World Series, and then we’ll sit down (and) we’ll map out a plan with (Diamondbacks’ director of player development) Mike Bell, and layout what our plans are for him as we move forward, and get him prepared for the upcoming season.”
There were a lot of eyes on Swanson from within the organization. General manager Dave Stewart went and saw him play a number of times, along with Watson, Ladnier, special assistant to the general manager Joe Carter, cross-checkers, rovers and even some of Arizona’s West Coast scouts. No stone was left unturned in their research and pursuit of Swanson.
“We were pretty solid on this pick,” Ladnier said. “We felt like, organizationally, it was a perfect pick for us. Our decision between he (Watson) and I was made, but you have a process that you have to go through out of respect to the people that are very talented evaluators.”
“As we whittled it down, we basically had the same type of support that he (Watson) and I had already decided that this was our pick, and now everybody else supporting it becomes a perfect pick for the organization.”
Swanson is as “solid” a player as they come. In their evaluation of him, Ladnier and the Diamondbacks could find nothing wrong with him that would prevent them from taking him No. 1.
“It’s a combination of skills and tools,” Ladnier said. “You really can’t knock anything about him (Swanson). We feel he’s going to hit, we feel he will have occasional power, we feel he will stay at shortstop and be good there. It’s basically checking all the boxes.”
“This is a very good player (Swanson), and we’re very excited to have him,” Ladnier said. “I’ve said that from the start. I’ve said, ‘whoever we select, we’re gonna be very pleased with the player, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are gonna get a really good Major League player.'”