So how long will Dansby Swanson need in the minor leagues? That’s a question many fans will have this season as the former Vanderbilt star will have his first full season in the minor leagues.
Last year, Swanson had just 99 plate appearances in Low-A. If he had not been injured by a hit by pitch, Swanson would have had more at bats to prepare him for his first complete year in pro ball.
But it is worth tracking how long other college draft picks who went high in the draft took before they were ready for the big leagues. And there are a couple of players that made their debut in 2015 that might be good comparisons.
Keep in mind that Swanson will be 22 years old when he joins a Braves’ minor league affiliate next week.
Kyle Schwarber was the first round pick of the Cubs in the 2014 draft, the fourth overall selection. He played at Indiana University. Schwarber was 22 years old when he made his MLB debut last June 16. He hit .246 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI in 273 plate appearances.
Schwarber had 311 plate appearanes – or 212 more than Swanson – in his first season after he was drafted in 2014. Then last season, Schwarber started the season in Double-A Tennessee and had 243 plate appearances. He hit .320 with 13 home runs, 39 RBI and a .438 on base percentage.
Schwarber then played in 17 games for Iowa and hit .333 with three home runs, 10 BRI and a .403 batting average. So Schwarber had 310 plate appearances last season before being promoted to Chicago. He hit .323 with 16 home runs, 49 RBI and a .430 on base percentage in the minors last year.
Michael Conforto was the first round pick of the Mets in the 2014 draft, the 10th overall selection. He played at Oregon State. Conforto was 22 years old when he made his MLB debut last July 24. He hit .270 with nine home runs and 26 RBI in 194 plate appearances.
Conforto had 186 plate appearances – or 87 more than Swanson – in his first season after he was drafted in 2014. Then last season, Conforto started out in High-A and had 184 plate appearances. He hit .283 with seven home runs and 28 RBI before getting a promotion to Double-A Binghamton. Then Conforto hit .312 with five home runs and 26 RBI in AA.
So Conforto’s minor league numbers before his promotion included a .297 batting average, a .372 on base percentage, 12 home runs and 54 RBI.
Trea Turner was the first round pick of the Padres in the 2014 draft, the 13th overall selection. He played at N.C. State. Turner was 22 years old when he made his debut last August 21. He hit .225 with a solo home run in his 44 plate appearances for the Nationals, the team he was traded to last year.
Turner had 321 plate appearances – or 222 more than Swanson – n his first season after he was drafted in 2014. Between the Padres’ two Single-A teams, Turner hit .323 with five home runs and 24 RBI.
Last season, Turner started the season in Double-A. He played 58 games with the Padres’ affiliate and had 254 plate appearances. Turner hit .322 with a .385 on base percentage, five home runs and 35 RBI. Then when the trade was announced, the Nationals kept Turner in Double-A for 10 games. Turner hit .359 with a .366 OBP. The Nationals then let Turner play 48 games in Triple-A, where he hit .314 with three home runs and 15 RBI. Overall in the minor leagues last season, in 500 plate appearances, Turner hit .322 with a .370 OBP, eight home runs and 54 RBI.
So does Dansby Swanson have a chance to be promoted to Atlanta this season? Certainly he does. But Swanson must produce, just like Schwarber, Conforto and Turner did last season to warrant the promotion to the big leagues. All three of those players did very well in their minor league time before getting the call to the show. If Swanson produces similar numbers, we could see him before they close the doors at Turner Field for the last time later this summer.
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