No. 1 pick Swanson doesn’t show off swing, still impresses

PHOENIX — Dansby Swanson earned the opportunity to be the No. 1 pick and the accompanying $6.5 million signing bonus. What he hasn’t earned, he said, is to take major league batting practice.

Swanson on Monday declined to step in the cage with the Diamondbacks at Chase Field out of respect.

"It’s their space, their time; they’re trying to get ready for a game," Swanson said hours after he signed with the D-backs. "I’m not one to interrupt that.

"Whenever I get the chance to earn it that’s when I’ll be out there doing it. As for now, I’ll let them have it; it’s their field."

It was a decision D-backs manager Chip Hale made a point to mention and an example of the maturity and humility Swanson displayed in his initial appearance with the organization.

"My goal since I was little is to be the best I can, whatever that may be," the 21-year-old shortstop out of Vanderbilt said as he was flanked by De Jon Watson, D-backs senior vice president of baseball operations, and scouting director Deric Ladnier. "I have a lot of belief in myself that one day I can be one of the better players in this league. But for right now I just have to take it day by day to get to that point."

After a Sunday dinner with D-backs brass, scouts and Hale, and Monday’s introduction to the organization, Swanson’s journey back to Chase Field starts this week with the Arizona Rookie League D-backs at Salt River Fields. Swanson will join High-A Visalia in a week to 10 days and is expected to finish the season there and likely will play in the Arizona Fall League.

He will carry with him — for the rest of his career — the label of No. 1 pick. Swanson called it an "external label" and said any associated pressure won’t affect him through what could be a relatively quick ascension through the minor leagues.

"He’s a wonderful kid. He’s very confident but knows where he is and what he has to do to get here to the big leagues," Hale said. "He’s excited to start his journey and had a lot of good questions.

"He’s got a great mind for the game. He understands we have a good young core here and he wants to be a part of that someday. But he knows it’s got to come in the right timetable."

Swanson, for his part, understands as much.

"I just have to do what I do and continue being myself … being competitive and not just having things given to me, earn things and treat them with respect," Swanson said. "I’m excited to go out there (to Visalia) and try to help them win."

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