Local baseball fans tuning into the World Series this week may see a face they recognize.
Dansby Swanson, starting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves — this year's pennant-winners in the National League — was originally drafted with the No. 1 overall pick out of Vanderbilt University in 2015. It wasn't the Braves who had that selection, but rather the Arizona Diamondbacks, the major league affiliate of the Hillsboro Hops.
Swanson played for Hillsboro to finish out the 2015 season. He enters the Fall Classic with a little bit of experience playing for all the marbles, too, as he was instrumental in the Hops winning the Northwest League championship that year.
As a Hop, Swanson hit .289 with a rock-solid .394 on-base percentage over 22 games during the regular season. He only homered once in 99 plate appearances, but he wasn't just a singles hitter, as he also pitched in with seven doubles and three triples.
After the 2015 season, the Diamondbacks traded Swanson as part of a three-player package to acquire Braves pitcher Shelby Miller. That deal was widely panned at the time, and it's regarded today as one of the most lopsided trades in recent MLB history.
Swanson has developed into an above-average everyday shortstop for the Braves, for whom he was playing just a year after he helped lead the Hops to a championship. Ender Inciarte, who also headed to Atlanta in the deal, held down the Braves' starting center fielder job for years.
Meanwhile, Miller flamed out in Arizona, as he ended up pitching for Triple-A Reno for most of his time in the organization. Pitching prospect Gabe Speier, who also came over from Atlanta in the trade, was shipped to the Kansas City Royals without ever having appeared in the big leagues with the D-Backs.
Swanson is the first former Hillsboro player to appear on a World Series roster.
"If you recall, he won a title here, so we like his odds," the team noted on Twitter.
The World Series between the Braves and the American League's Houston Astros is set to begin with Game 1 at 5:09 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday evening, Oct. 26. After two games in Houston, the series will head to Atlanta for three beginning at 5:09 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29.
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