Anthony Swarzak: Fort Lauderdale Native & Former Mets Pitcher (2018)
Anthony Ray Swarzak was born September 10th, 1085 in Ft. Lauderdale Florida. The six foot four right handed pitcher, was a star at Nova High, in Davie, Florida.
He was 11-1 with 120 strike outs in his sophomore year, getting him signed by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 2004 draft. He was named All County & All State at the highest levels. He followed that year up winning14 games in both his Junior & Senior years, while losing just three games in both years combined. He also struck out 142 & 145 batters respectively.
His minor leagues were impressive early on as well, as he was ranked one of Minnesota's top prospects until turning up dirty in a 2007 drug test, testing positive for pot. He went 5-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five games at AAA Rochester earning him a shot in Spring Training 2009 with the Twins.
He made his MLB debut on May 23rd getting a start against the Milwaukee Brewers where he pitched five scoreless innings earning a win. That year as a starter he went 3-7 posting a 6.25 ERA.
He broke his foot after being struck by a line drive & spent the rest of 2010 at AAA. He returned to the big leagues again during the 2011 season. That year he began pitching in relief & would maintain that position for the rest of his career, except for four starts in 2014.
As for 2013 he posted a 2.91 ERA with a 3-2 record in 48 games. That year he had another dumb incident where he got injured while in his words "he was wrestling around a little bit". The next year his ERA jumped almost two runs & he was granted free agency at the end of the year.
He signed on with the Cleveland Indians & was released that June. His pitching coach there was his future Mets manager; Mickey Callaway. Callaway told him to get stronger & longer in his stride. He then went on to pitch in Korea, where he learned how to throw a slider & reworked his delivery.
In 2016 he signed with the AL New York club, pitching 26 games going 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA finishing up six games. Rather than accept a minor league demotion he chose free agency & signed with the Chicago White Sox.
With the slider now perfected he went 4-3 posting a 2.23 ERA striking out 52 batters in 48 innings in 41 games for the Sox.
He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for a minor leaguer at the end of July. He pitched well again, in 29 games with the Brew Crew he was 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA, 39 strike outs in 29 innings. On the season he was 6-4 with two saves posting a 2.33 ERA, striking out 91 batters in 77 innings of work.
Mets Career: The Mets were impressed & gave him a two year deal in December 2017.
Swarzak made his Mets debut in the second Spring training game of 2018. He would make 29 appearances for the 2018 Mets, going 0-2 with a 6.15 ERA. He struck out 31 & walked 14 in 26 innings of work.
He was granted free agency & spent 2019 with Seattle & the Atlanta Braves going an overall 3-4 with a four saves.
In his ten year career he has pitched in 375 games going 26-36 with 485 strike outs, 201& walks in 641 innings of work, finishing up 65 games with ten career saves.
Parkland Shooting Tragedy: Swarzak grew up in Broward County, and had ties with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the shootings took place. “I played against that school growing up, my sister went to that school."
"I had two cousins that graduated from that school. My heart, it aches for those families, for all of Broward County, for the United States. This is a sad time we are living in. We all have to find a way to rise above it. Love conquers all. It really does. It’s a really sad thing.”
Family: He & his wife Elizabeth donated food to the South Florida school days after the horrible incident occurred.
He claims in an interview his wife is his rock & credits her with straightening out his life. Together they have a daughter, who loves to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" & "God Bless America" at the ballpark.
Trivia: Swarzak's hobbies include fishing & golf. He is also a big foodie & loves Italian Food as well as a good steak. One of his favorite movies is "A Bronx Tale".