Swanson swats memorable first homer for Mudcats

Braves' top prospect hits go-ahead inside-the-parker for Class A Advanced Carolina

Swanson swats memorable first homer for Mudcats

Dansby Swanson connected on his first home run of the season for Class A Advanced Carolina on Thursday, though he didn't have time to savor his trip around the bases.

Batting with two runners on base in the top of the seventh inning against Myrtle Beach, Swanson, the Braves' No. 1 prospect, laced a line drive to center field that got by a diving Charcer Burks and rolled all the way to the wall as Swanson scampered around the bases for a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run.

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"I honestly thought he was going to come catch it," Swanson told MiLB.com. "Then he dove and it went over his head. As I was rounding first, I saw that the left fielder [Stephen Gaylor] was running after it, and I just got, I guess, greedy. I was like, 'I've got to get an inside-the-parker here.'"

Swanson also hit a double and drew a walk as a part of a 2-for-4 effort, though his big game at the plate ultimately was spoiled by Myrtle Beach first baseman Yasiel Balaguert, whose walk-off, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth pushed the Pelicans past Carolina, 6-5.

After signing with the Diamondbacks for $6.5 million as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Swanson was hit in the face by a Yoan Lopez fastball during a simulated game and, as a result, didn't make his professional debut until Aug. 12. But the Vanderbilt product flashed his No. 1 pick-caliber talent once healthy, batting .289/.394/.482 with 11 extra-base hits in 22 games for Class A Short Season Hillsboro, whom he helped lead to a Northwest League championship.

The offseason saw Arizona trade the 22-year-old Swanson to Atlanta in the Shelby Miller blockbuster -- a deal that made him a key future contributor for the team he grew up watching. After his strong showing with the Braves in big league camp, Swanson was assigned to the Carolina League for his first full professional season, where he's been anything but overmatched by the level of competition.

With his multi-hit performance on Thursday -- already his seventh of the young season -- Swanson is batting .344 with a .961 OPS with nine RBIs and four stolen bases. He has yet to find his home-run stroke in 2016 -- his inside-the-park homer was just his second long ball in 37 games as a pro -- but he has shown plenty of gap pop in the early going, with nine doubles in his first 15 games.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.