BY: ED COLE
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Dansby Swanson has had the type of day every 21-year-old athlete dreams of. In a matter of “two or three minutes,” Swanson went from beating the University of Illinois in the Super Regionals, and qualifying for the College World Series, to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2015 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I can’t complain, that’s for sure. Can’t complain,” Swanson said. “This day definitely couldn’t have been scripted any better.”
It was a hectic few minutes for Swanson, going from a “dogpile” with his teammates, to watching the draft with his family on the field on his IPhone.
“It was pretty awesome,” Swanson said.
Swanson had a feeling that he would be the first one selected in the draft, but he had to keep that thought on the back-burner, because he had more pressing business to take care of: beating the Illini.
“That’s what was most important to me was playing well, because I knew I couldn’t control everything else that was going on around me,” Swanson said.
Diamondbacks’ senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson and scouting director Deric Ladnier gave Swanson a call earlier in the day, just to pick his brain a little bit. They didn’t tell him he’d be their pick. They just wanted to touch bases with him before the game. Swanson says he laid everything out on the table for them during that call.
“I just wanted to be as honest and straightforward with them about everything as possible, because honesty is the best policy, and I didn’t want to cut any corners or anything,” Swanson said. “It’s pretty awesome to be able to talk to them, and them being able to pick apart my brain just a little bit and us have a nice conversation before everything got going.”
Swanson grew up around baseball; baseball’s in his blood. His older brother by nine years played the game, and his father played the game. He feels all that time around the game has helped sharpen his “baseball knowledge and I.Q.,” which he believes are his strongest assets.
“I’ve just always been around it and learned baseball at an elite level since I was six-years-old,” Swanson said.
What the Diamondbacks love about Swanson is how clutch he is. There’s countless times that Swanson’s come up to the plate this season, and delivered for Vanderbilt, saving them from certain doom.
“Right off the bat, when you say something like that, what immediately comes to my mind is basketball from high school. I’ve been through a lot of different moments and experiences with that, and it’s prepared me for this stage,” Swanson said. “I also trust the training that we’ve done throughout my time here, so when I get in those moments, it feels like I’ve done it a thousand times. I’m just able to be comfortable and relaxed while I go through those moments.”
Before Swanson embarks on the next chapter of his career and his life, he’s got some business to handle, namely the College World Series.
“We want to win another National Championship, that’s all there is to it,” Swanson said. “We’re competitive guys, we don’t let this stuff go to our heads. We have business to attend to, and all the professional stuff can wait until after the season’s over, because we definitely want to win again. It shouldn’t be too hard to re-focus ourselves back to where we want to be.”