Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A minor leaguer hangs 'em up

Alex Swim apparently has decided he can find something else to do with his life.

Unless you pay attention to the Twins farm system, his is not a familiar name. He is -- or was before he walked away from the Fort Myers Miracle (High A) -- a left-handed hitting catcher-outfielder who spent some time in major league camp this spring and was the first receiver shipped out.

I noticed Swim a couple years ago when I visited the Cedar Rapids Kernels late in the Midwest League season. Jake Mauer had the Kernels surging in the second half, and Swim was getting the bulk of the right field playing time and spraying line drives. Swim hit .311 for the Kernels, albeit with minimal power.

He moved up to Fort Myers last year and hit .311 again, again getting much of his playing time in right field with Mitch Garver the regular catcher. Again, not much power.

This year he was repeating the Florida State League, again getting some right field time and again behind a more-highly drafted catcher, this time Brian Navaretto. Only this year. instead of hitting .311, he was hitting .204.

It's a rational decision. Swim is 25, which is old for the FSL. He's behind a lot of catchers -- and what's more, behind a lot of catchers in an organization that regards its catching depth as a problem. Even if the .204 is an aberration,  he is merely a singles hitter. He isn't making it to the major leagues.

But he had that taste for a few weeks in major league camp, and it couldn't have been an easy decision to give up, even if it was a case of quit before getting released.

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