Pitchers to Watch in 2017: Erik Swanson – Pinstriped Prospects
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Pitchers to Watch in 2017: Erik Swanson

The New York Yankees have one of the best farm systems in all of baseball, if not the best.  With that comes a lot of top-level talent that becomes household names in the fan base.  But aside from the big names the fans already know there are several players throughout the system that they should also keep an eye on in 2017.

The Yankees acquired Erik Swanson on August 1, 2016, in a trade that also saw Nick Green and Dillon Tate join the Baby Bombers in exchange for outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Swanson was the Rangers eighth round draft pick in the 2014 First-Year-Player Draft, taken 1-round after fellow new Baby Bomber Nick Green.  The right-handed pitcher was drafted out of Iowa Western Community College but was signed to go to the University of Pittsburgh.

After signing with Texas, he reported to the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League to start his professional career. In 15 relief appearances with Spokane, he owned a 1-2 record with a 4.63 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.

In 2015 he made a brief 1-game appearance in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League with the Round Rock Express, striking out two batters in an inning before reporting to the Frisco RoughRiders for a game.  There he walked 2 and struck out one while allowing a run on two hits for the Rangers Double-A affiliate then went to the Hickory Crawdads where he spent the rest of the season.

With the Crawdads, Swanson appeared in 7 games, striking out ten batters in 12 1/3 innings but his season would end after suffering a forearm flexor strain.  He would return later in the year for a 1-game rehab stint with the Arizona League Rangers but by then the season was just about over.

This year he came back to Hickory as a starting pitcher, starting 15 out of the 19 games he has appeared in earning a 6-4 record and a 3.43 ERA.  His success earned him a spot in the 2016 South Atlantic League All-Star Game.  After being traded to the Yankees, he reported to the Charleston RiverDogs.  In 5 games for the RiverDogs, he threw 15 innings, striking out 15 and allowed just six earned runs.

Swanson has a powerful mid-90s fastball which has topped out at 98 MPH and complements it with a changeup and slider.  Long-term he projects to be a reliever, with the potential to be a closer in the majors.

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