The Dodgers pick 29th in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, and in Keith Law’s first mock draft at The Athletic, he has them using that selection on an upside play — North Carolina State pitcher Nick Swiney.
The 6’3 left-hander was a reliever in his first two years with the Wolfpack, posting a 4.23 ERA with 132 walks in 87⅓ innings. He also walked 49 batters, a 12.9-percent walk rate.
MLB.com ranks Swiney the 79th-best prospect in the draft, citing those control concerns: “There’s still some question as to whether he can throw quality strikes and maintain his stuff over a long season because his delivery features effort.”
Swiney moved into a starter’s role as a junior, and was dominant in his four starts before the season was canceled. Swiney allowed only four total runs in those four starts, posting a 1.29 ERA with 42 strikeouts and six walks in 28 innings.
His season high was 15 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings against Purdue on Feb. 29, when he allowed just one hit.
“Swiney came on this year as the Wolfpack’s Saturday starter, showing a plus curveball and good command of a fringe-average fastball in his first stint in NC State’s rotation, with good extension out front to help his stuff play up and a little projection left in his body,” Law wrote.
Baseball America ranked Swiney 121st on their draft prospect list, though perhaps a full junior season would have moved him up. “His fastball gets up to 93-94 mph at its best, but early this season it was anywhere from 87-92 consistently,” they wrote. “After his fastball, Swiney has two solid secondaries including a curveball that could be an above-average pitch and a changeup that he’s increasingly become more comfortable throwing.”