Diamondbacks select Dansby Swanson with first pick in 2015 MLB Draft

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

The Arizona Diamondbacks ended the suspense Monday night. With the first pick of the MLB Draft, Arizona selected Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson.

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In a draft class lacking an elite prospect, the Diamondbacks attempted to keep their decision shrouded in mystery. Swanson was considered among the top players available, so it's tough to argue with the selection. 

The 21-year-old Swanson turned in a fantastic season, hitting .348/.441/.648, with 14 home runs for Vanderbilt. He is a finalist for the Golden Spikes award, which is given annually to the best college baseball player. Baseball America describes Swanson as a "well-rounded" hitter who can work a walk, and has a solid two-strike approach. While he has pop, Swanson is considered more of a line drive hitter. He receives high marks for his work ethic, and most scouts believe he'll stick at short as he moves up the ladder.

Unlike past seasons, there was no consensus No. 1 pick in this year's draft. While there was chatter about the Diamondbacks selecting Swanson prior to Monday, there was also a sense that the team would consider a number of options with the pick.

Shortstops dominated the early portion of the draft. The Houston Astros selected Alex Bregman of LSU with the second pick, and the Colorado Rockies took Brendan Rodgers of Lake Mary High School third overall. 

The Rangers broke that trend with the fourth pick, taking UC Santa Barbara right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate. 

The Astros used their second first round pick on outfielder Kyle Tucker. Tucker will join his brother, Preston, who is currently an outfield prospect in the Astros' organization.

With the sixth pick, the Minnesota Twins picked up Illinois pitcher Tyler Jay. The Boston Red Sox then grabbed outfielder Andrew Benintendi with the seventh pick. The Chicago White Sox then took Swanson's teammate Carson Fulmer with the eighth pick. Both Benintendi and Fulmer are candidates for the Golden Spikes award.

At No. 9, the Chicago Cubs picked up Cincinnati outfielder Ian Happ. The top-10 then came full circle, as the Philadelphia Phillies took high school shortstop Cornelius Randolph.

Swanson, as expected, seemed pretty excited to be selected by Arizona. 

Coming into the year, Arizona was considered to have a fairly strong group of prospects. Baseball Prospectus ranked the team seventh in their yearly Organizational Rankings. A big reason for that ranking was pitching. Archie Bradley has graduated to the majors since the piece was published, but both Braden Shipley and Aaron Blair remain high-upside prospects. 

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The team also experienced some turnover with their position players by promoting Jake Lamb, Nick Ahmed and Yasmany Tomas. Swanson should help in that regard. 

The last time the Diamondbacks held the top overall selection, the team selected shortstop Justin Upton in 2005. Just two seasons later, Upton made his major-league debut, albeit in the outfield, and Diamondbacks shocked the world by winning 90 games.

That would signal the best-case scenario for Swanson. Few prospects reach the majors as quickly as Upton, and those types of expectations can't be placed on Swanson, even though he was the first overall pick.

What Swanson does represent is another solid piece in the Diamondbacks next contender. The club may not be playing well now, but the pieces are there. By selecting Swanson the Diamondbacks added another promising young player to an already exciting future core.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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