The New York Yankees have several infielders on their roster, yet the only ones with a known role for the 2023 season are first baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Gleyber Torres. The left side of the infield is still a mystery.
Besides the two starters (that is if the Yankees don’t trade Torres, a scenario that gets unlikelier with each passing day), the team also employs Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Josh Donaldson, and DJ LeMahieu.
IKF is better suited as a utility player, and the Yankees have reportedly tried to deal Donaldson. The rest ofhe group remains starting-caliber talents, even a veteran LeMahieu.
Still, the season is long: injuries happen, and trades can’t be ruled out. Should the Yankees find themselves needing an infielder come summer time, or September, there is a name to watch if he isn’t traded himself: Trey Sweeney.
Sweeney could find himself helping the Yankees this year
Sweeney will be 23 in late April, and has alrady gotten a taste of Double-A ball: 50 plate appearances of above-average performance (105 wRC) this past season.
A former first-round pick, Sweeney has played his whole career in the Yankees’ minor league system at shortstop, but is probably too big for the position. He would be better as a second or third baseman, and could give the team a legitimate option late this season if he keeps developing as he has.
Here is a scouting report on Sweeney from FanGraphs’ prospects expert Eric Longenhagen, from last year:
“Sweeney has an unorthodox swing, but it works for him. He has excellent plate discipline, outstanding zone coverage, an advanced feel for contact and enough power to be dangerous. He’s a big, physical player but not especially twitchy, and while he remained at shortstop during his pro debut, his size, 40-grade speed and solid arm should work well enough at third base.”
As a hitter, he doesn’t have elite power, but he is not a zero there by any means and does have excellent on-base skills. Playing in High-A, he slashed .241/350/.415 with 14 home runs and a 112 wRC+ in 458 plate appearances in 2022, and then played 11 games at Triple-A where he got the aforementioned 50 trips to the plate. Between the two levels, he stole 31 bases and knocked 16 homers.
In all likelihood, Sweeney will open the 2023 campaign at Double-A. If he is successful there, he could find himself in Triple-A by June or July. From there, the path to the Bronx depends on his performance and on potential openings in the big league roster.
Sweeney may not project to be a star, like Anthony Volpe, but in a best-case scenario, he could be a fine regular when his development is complete. If he plays to the top of his abilities, he could find himself in the Bronx at some point in 2023.