The player taken at No. 67 in this year's MLB draft was forever going to be linked to Madison Bumgarner.
The Giants got that compensation pick because they made the qualifying offer to Bumgarner in November, then watched him choose to sign with the division-rival Diamondbacks. This was their prize for choosing to hold Bumgarner at the deadline when they still had a heartbeat in the NL Wild Card race, and they inadvertently had some fun with it.
Nick Swiney was the selection, the one who will go down as compensation for one of the franchise's all-time greats signing elsewhere. He happens to be a left-handed pitcher from North Carolina State. He happened to grow up about an hour from Bumgarner's hometown.
There will never be another Bumgarner in San Francisco, and linking the two lefties beyond everything mentioned above is foolish. Swiney will try to forge his own path, and he'll do so as the highest-drafted pitcher of the Farhan Zaidi Era thus far.
The Giants took hitters with their first seven selections last year and kicked off the 2019 draft with a catcher and a third baseman, although second-rounder Casey Schmitt was also a closer at San Diego State and has some two-way potential. Immediately after drafting Swiney, they went back to the other side, taking Dallas Baptist shortstop Jimmy Glowenke with the 68th pick, the prize for watching Will Smith walk after also getting a qualifying offer.
Strangely, it is the infielder who is coming off elbow concerns. Glowenke had surgery last fall and was a DH during a shortened spring season. He's considered one of the better-hitting college infielders in the draft, although scouts believe he may ultimately end raking at second base, not shortstop.
"He has a track record of hitting everywhere he goes," MLB Network analyst Jim Callis said.
Wherever Glowenke ends up in the minors next year, he could find himself surrounded by Wolfpack. Swiney will join his battery-mate, Patrick Bailey, in the pros, along with former NC State shortstop Will Wilson, who was a first-round pick last year and then got traded to the Giants during the Winter Meetings.
We’re getting the boys back together. Congrats @NicholasSwiney— Will Wilson (@wbw_12) June 11, 2020
On Thursday's Giants Insider Podcast, scouting director Michael Holmes talked about a benefit of spending so much time watching Wilson last spring.
"The beauty of going to see NC State because they have players like Will Wilson and other players is that you get to see guys like Pat, even in their underclassmen years" he said. "And you're really in a good position once they get to their platform year in the draft."
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Swiney took full advantage of his abbreviated chance to shine. He went 11-1 as a middle reliever his first two seasons and then dominated once moved to the rotation as a junior. Swiney was 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 42 strikeouts and just six walks in four starts when the season was halted. Against Purdue, he struck out 15 batters in eight one-hit innings.
That's the kind of performance that has you shooting up draft boards, and Callis said there was some talk of Swiney getting taken in the 30s last night. Instead, he lasted to 67, and the Giants pounced.
The concern, draft analysts say, is that there's some question about whether he'll be a starter or a reliever in the pros. But perhaps that's just another reason why he was the perfect pick at 67.
The man who guaranteed that pick for the Giants famously succeeded as both.