Oct. 13—Former major league pitcher Matt Swarmer faced uncertainty when he was released by Gwinnett, the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in July. However, he quickly received a phone call from the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, an independent league partnered with MLB. Swarmer, a local native, eagerly embraced the opportunity to play close to home. Two months later, he helped lead the Barnstormers to their second consecutive league title and fourth in franchise history. Swarmer described the experience as almost comparable to the big leagues and expressed his gratitude for the chance to bring a championship to Lancaster, a goal he had always cherished even if he didn’t get drafted by the team.
Lancaster sealed the best-of-five Atlantic League Championship Series with a 3-2 victory over Gastonia in Game 5. Swarmer contributed to the team’s success, despite taking the loss in Game 2 of the series. He showcased his skills by striking out eight batters but allowed seven earned runs. Before reaching the championship series, Lancaster swept the best-of-five North Division Championship Series against Long Island. Swarmer also earned a victory in Game 2 of that series.
The significance of playing close to home went beyond the baseball field for Swarmer. For the first time in his professional career, his family could easily attend his games and support him from the stands. Swarmer expressed his gratitude for their constant presence and acknowledged the additional joy of being able to share meals with them before games.
After pitching for multiple teams across the country in the past seven years, Swarmer found himself living with his parents once again and making a short commute to Lancaster. This experience marked a full circle moment for him, emphasizing the unique opportunity to pursue his professional baseball career while living at home.
Swarmer signed with the Barnstormers in August and achieved a 4-1 record with a 3.69 ERA in seven starts during the regular season. He recorded an impressive 52 strikeouts in 39 innings. Reflecting on his time with the team, Swarmer expressed his appreciation for the chance to play close to home, an opportunity he had never experienced before.
Under Swarmer’s influence, the Barnstormers secured the North Division title in the second half of the season with a 37-24 record. This triumph, along with the team’s strong camaraderie, led Swarmer to believe in their championship potential.
Although Swarmer faced challenges during the season, such as being primarily used as a reliever during his stint with the Gwinnett Stripers, he viewed the Braves organization’s opportunity as valuable. Finishing the season on a high note with the Barnstormers allowed Swarmer to reestablish himself in the baseball community and potentially attract interest from other teams.
Prior to joining the Braves organization, Swarmer made his major league debut in May 2022 with the Chicago Cubs after spending five seasons in their farm system. He pitched in 11 games, including five starts, earning a 2-3 record and a 5.03 ERA. Swarmer recognized the importance of being at the top of his game and emphasized the need for a solid game plan when pitching in the majors.
Swarmer’s professional journey began when the Chicago Cubs drafted him in the 19th round of the 2016 draft from Kutztown University. Throughout his career, Swarmer climbed the ranks, reaching Triple-A Iowa in 2017 and pitching for the team in multiple seasons.
Swarmer’s pitching repertoire consists of a four-seam fastball, slider, and changeup. He expressed a preference for starting and plans to develop a two-seam fastball or splitter during the offseason.
Looking ahead, Swarmer remains determined to continue his professional baseball career, regardless of the location. He remains committed to giving his all and working hard in the gym, hoping for another opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing in the big leagues.
David Rodriguez brings the excitement of Major League Baseball to readers. With a deep appreciation for America’s pastime, he covers the latest MLB news, scores, and player achievements, keeping fans up to date with their favorite teams and players.