2010 Cardinals Prospect #39 – Michael Swinson

As a teenager, the outfielder displayed plenty of talent and potential in short-season ball. Are the consistent results coming soon?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2009 and career stats)

2009 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Throw Signed Round
NR OF 9/24/1989 6-2 185 L R 2008 12th

School: Coffee County High School, Douglas, GA

Selected 2009 stats

JC 0.338 74 18 25 4 1 3 14 11 17 6 0.425 0.541 0.966
BAT 0.196 92 13 18 5 1 0 9 11 24 4 0.279 0.272 0.551
Tot 0.259 166 31 43 9 2 3 23 22 41 10 0.346 0.392 0.737

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (39): The two-sport standout as a Georgia prep reminds me a lot of a young Daryl Jones. Swinson is very green but appears to have quite a bit of upside.

At times, the speedster can be overmatched by the plus fastball. He has shown the ability adjust and take the ball the other way. Swinson is very thin but seems to have a frame that could easily add bulk.

With speed to burn, he covers a lot of center field. His arm is average at best but good enough to stay in center. When comparing Jones and Swinson, I think that the younger Swinson has more speed and is a better defender. I believe that Jones projects to have more power.

Message board community (35): Michael Swinson showed some of the greatest improvement of all Cardinal prospects on his way to earning The Cardinal Nation #39 ranking. After a hitting just .192/.286/.253 in the rookie GCL last year, Swinson moved in to high gear with a promotion to low A Johnson City. His .338/.425/.541 line had him among the league leaders in several categories prior to receiving a promotion to Batavia mid -season. The .196/.272/.279 line he put up there was eerily similar to the one he put up the previous year in the GCL. Whether that represented a return to his true level or simply reflected a decline based on playing at a higher level against older competition remains to be seen. There is no doubt that his Johnson City line was helped tremendously by an unsustainable .407 BABIP. On the promising side, his line drive rate only dropped slightly while at Batavia and was considerably higher than his previous year in the GCL.

Swinson is regarded as a fantastic athlete and has been compared by many to Daryl Jones in that regard. Personally, despite Swinson's off and on offense, I'm encouraged by his walk rate which has stayed above 10% regardless of level. If the Cards are really sold on Swinson, he likely will begin 2010 at full-season A level Quad Cities. If not, he could return to Batavia to try to show he can master that level first. In any case, Swinson seems like the type of player who could either rise up the ranking charts quickly next year or simply disappear from top prospect consideration. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (45): I haven't seen enough of Swinson to be comfortable with any Daryl Jones comparisons. Clearly there is promise, but the aforementioned success at Johnson City was across just 74 at-bats. For the remainder of his brief career – about 200 at-bats, Swinson's batting average is below .200 and his OPS is under .550. He consistently strikes out one-fourth of the time.

As a result, I still consider him someone worth watching, but I have no expectations. With Swinson playing at the age of just 20 next season, perhaps the expectations will soon be earned. I would be surprised if Swinson makes Quad Cities but a return to Batavia would certainly not be fatal.

Our 2010 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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