Fame and fortune can be seductive, but Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 pick of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft hasn’t allowed either to change his approach to the game or who he is.
No signs of an ego are evident as he sits inside the visitor’s dugout at Blue Wahoos Stadium on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon in May.
He’s polite, humble, hard-working and friendly to the fans, willing to sign autographs at every stop, everything the potential future face of Major League Baseball should be. You would be hard pressed to believe he is a player who received $6.5 million as a signing bonus.
He’s also pretty good at dealing with change. Swanson, a shortstop out of Vanderbilt, was taken No. 1 by the Arizona Diamondbacks a year ago but traded to the Atlanta Braves in the offseason in the Shelby Miller deal.
A few hours before the M-Braves battle the Blue Wahoos in the opener of a five-game Southern League series in Pensacola, a soft breeze blowing in off the bay, Swanson, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, sits down to discuss his baseball journey with members of the local media, including the crazy twist to his promising career.
“I didn’t know how to look at it (the trade) because… I mean, I’m sure none of you all have ever been traded before,” Swanson said, drawing laughter from the reporters gathered around him. “I gave myself a week and a half to let everything settle and didn’t look into it too quickly. I didn’t allow my emotions to take over and looked at it instead as a great opportunity to play for the Braves.”
He could have gone pro earlier. The Colorado Rockies selected him in the 38th round of the 2012 draft.
But Swanson, despite a lack of offers, chose the college route. A native of Georgia, he wanted to go to Georgia Tech.
There was one problem with that dream.
“They didn’t think I was good enough,” Swanson said. “Vanderbilt was my only big offer. If I didn’t go there I would have gone to Troy, where my parents went. Vanderbilt saw something in me and I fell in love with the school. It propelled my decision.”
Read more in the June 9 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.