Diamondbacks draft Vandy shortstop Swanson with No. 1 pick
SECAUCUS, N.J. (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks selected slugging Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Monday night.
Swanson, who helped lead the Commodores to the College World Series earlier in the day, is the first college shortstop to be chosen with the top selection in the draft since Brown University's Bill Almon in 1974.
The pick at MLB Network studios marked the first time the Diamondbacks had the No. 1 selection since they took Justin Upton in 2005. It's the 50th anniversary of the first draft in 1965, and the first for new Commissioner Rob Manfred.
With the second pick, Houston took LSU's Alex Bregman - marking the first time shortstops have gone with the first two selections since Shawon Dunston (Cubs) and Augie Schmidt (Blue Jays) were drafted in 1982. The Astros, who also select fifth, received the pick as compensation for not signing pitcher Brady Aiken, last year's No. 1 overall pick.
Colorado made it 3 for 3 on shortstops by taking Florida high schooler Brendan Rodgers at No. 3 overall. Rodgers was the first of four players in attendance to have his name called by Manfred, shaking hands with the commissioner while slipping on a Rockies cap and jersey.
"I really have no words right now," Rodgers said. "I'm in awe right now. This is a dream come true."
Swanson seamlessly switched from second base to shortstop this season as a junior. He was the College World Series' Most Outstanding Player last year, helping the Commodores to the national championship. Swanson is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and Howser Trophy, given to college baseball's top player.
He also is the first shortstop - college or high school - to go No. 1 since Houston took Carlos Correa of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in 2012. Correa was set to make his major league debut Monday night, just more than three years to day after he was drafted.
Bregman is the offensive leader of an LSU team that will play in the College World Series and has been ranked No. 1 in the country in several polls for most of the season. The Golden Spikes Award finalist is hitting .312 with nine homers and 49 RBIs, and has stolen 37 bases. Bregman has shown good patience at the plate, striking out just 20 times in 239 at-bats. He has also improved defensively in each of his three seasons at LSU, and could remain at shortstop in the pros.
Rodgers, from Lake Mary High School, was widely regarded as the best prep player in the draft. He has a powerful bat to all fields, and has soft hands and good range at shortstop - where he could remain in the pros.
UC Santa Barbara fireballing right-hander Dillon Tate was selected by Texas with the fourth pick, giving the Rangers a potential staff ace or late-inning reliever. He was one of the best closers in the country last year, and established himself as an outstanding starter this season for the Gauchos. He went 8-5 with a 2.26 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 103 1-3 innings with a fastball that hits the upper-90s (mph) and a wicked slider to go along with a solid curve and changeup.
Houston kept things in the family at No. 5, taking Florida high school outfielder Kyle Tucker, the younger brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker. He broke his brother's school record with 31 career homers, and has the power to potentially move to a corner outfield spot at the next level.