Dansby Swanson of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the first overall pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft, talks to the media prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at Chase Field on July 20, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Norm Hall
Photo: Norm Hall
Photo: Norm Hall

Former high school coach on Dansby Swanson: 'That's the dream'

Dansby Swanson is Cobb County's newest hometown hero.

The Braves acquired the Marietta native on Tuesday from the Arizona Diamondbacks, after trading pitcher Shelby Miller.

The 21-year-old grew up a Braves fan, played basketball and baseball at Marietta High School, and was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2015 June draft out of Vanderbilt.

"He was a standout in everything he did," Chris Stafford, head coach for the Marietta High School baseball team, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Stafford said baseball is a big part of Cobb County culture, but he and his staff never thought one of their own would become a first-round draft pick.

“That’s the dream of a lot of kids," Stafford said of Swanson's success. "A lot of kids now feel like it’s a realistic dream."

Stafford first became head coach during Swanson's sophomore year and coached him for the remaining three years of his high school career. Swanson was a three-year varsity letterman in basketball and baseball and had a 4+ GPA in the school's top academic program.

In addition to his high school extracurriculars, Dansby also played for the East Cobb Yankees under head coach James Beavers.

"I've always had a lot of confidence in Dansby," Beavers told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Beavers cited his experience as a professional baseball scout for 20 years.

"You recognize guys that have some special tools," he said. "He's special in a lot of ways: on the field, off the field, the way he carries himself, the way he prepares for games, the way he practices. He's a special guy."

Former East Cobb Yankees that have made it to the big league include: Marlon Byrd, Gordon Beckham, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Drew.

During the off-season, Swanson has two homes: Vanderbilt and Marietta.

"He comes out here sometimes," Stafford said. "I know when he’ll have the oppunity to visit family and coaches here, he’ll do that.”

For many of Swanson's friends, there's only one question left: How fast can they get season tickets to see Swanson play?

"We'd love to see him play," Beaver said. "We're pulling for him."

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