TCN 2014 Cards Prospect #29: Jordan Swagerty

Two lost years due to Tommy John surgery leads to a major drop in the right-handed pitcher's ranking.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
11 RHS 7/14/1989 6-1 172 B R 2010 2nd

School: Arizona State University

Selected 2013 stats

GCL 0 0 0.00 0.70 2 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 5 2.00 0.154 0.250
PB 0 1 13.50 6.05 0 0 0 6.2 11 10 0 8 4 1.00 0.407 0.478
Total 0 1 8.44   2 0 0 10.2 13 10 0 8 9 1.25 0.325  

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (28): Jordan Swagerty was the community's 28th prospect this year, a slide all the way down from 12th last year. That he continues to be ranked is extraordinary given that he has basically missed two full seasons of development time back-to-back.

This year, Swagerty only appeared in nine games total (10 2/3 innings with Gulf Coast League rehab included). It was not at all about the statistics but more so about shaking off the rust after a long missed season.

From there, he would prioritize throwing pitches within the strike zone, than slowly building up arm strength to get back the velocity he had pre-surgery and commanding it, while working to re-crisp up his secondary stuff.

It should be noted Swagerty was not in instructional camp this fall, but instead rehabbed at home in Arizona. Brent Strom (Cardinals former pitching coordinator now Astros pitching coach) reminded Brian Walton that recovery from the procedure should not be considered an automatic.

The right-hander's struggles this summer were attributed to the loss of his command on his breaking ball. That is a part of shaking off the rust. The organization does expect Swagerty to be ready to go in the spring while hoping to pitch for a full-season club - if he is not lost in the Rule 5 Draft Thursday. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (33): My stance has changed from last year. After year one of Swagerty's recovery, I was willing to give the right-hander the benefit of any reasonable doubt about his ability to recovery from Tommy John surgery. I fully expected him to pick in up in 2013 where he left off in 2011.

Now, after two years of recovery, I have moved Swagerty down the page from the "almost can't miss" area to the "borderline major league chance" vicinity. Some suggested that lingering bone spurs were the reason for his shaky and limited 2013 showing, but as far as I know, no new surgical procedures were undertaken.

I can no longer paint an optimistic picture about the future of the Texas native after he pitched so few innings this summer, then was shut down and headed home rather than participating in instructional league camp this fall.

I find Swagerty's own public stance interesting. The author of a regular blog on, the hurler usually did not discuss his injuries much. Yet, he noted in late July, "With a few outings under my belt now it has been a little more difficult than I expected…" Swagerty went on the disabled list right after that and stopped posting. Until assured otherwise, I do not consider no news to be good news.

I continue to be an admirer of Swagerty's aggressive mound approach and his pre-injury offerings (low-to-mid 90's fastball, curve and change). Yet 2011, when he outpitched Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez at Palm Beach, seems like a very long time ago.

I predict that one of two things is going to happen in 2014. Either Swagerty bounces back onto the radar with a vengeance or he fades away as one of the rare TJS non-recovery cases Strom warned me about.

Our 2014 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 the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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