At present, the New York Yankees seem to lack a long-term solution at third base. With Josh Donaldson struggling with a hamstring injury and DJ LeMahieu assuming most of the duties at the hot corner, the team has been trying to fill the position this season.
Oswald Peraza doesn’t appear to be the right fit, as the Yankees have been hesitant to give him playing time since promoting him several weeks ago. Oswaldo Cabrera serves more as a super-utility option than an everyday starter at a single position. The Yankees prefer to use LeMahieu in a versatile role, helping to reduce fatigue in the infield.
However, the Yankees have a prospect rising through the ranks who could be a long-term option. Twenty-three-year-old infielder Trey Sweeney might be an ideal candidate to assume the position, offering solid defense and strong offensive potential.
Currently playing for Double-A Somerset, Sweeney is hitting .268 with a .384 OBP, one HR, eight RBIs, and five stolen bases. He has a 20.2% strikeout rate, a 15.2% walk rate, and a 122 wRC+.
Sweeney could potentially be promoted to Triple-A Scranton during the 2023 season. At the very least, the Yankees need to see if he can be a future solution, if not a trade asset. They hope to see more power in his game, as he currently has a .378 slugging percentage. Last year, he hit 14 home runs in High-A with Hudson Valley, accumulating 51 RBIs.
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The Yankees recognize Trey Sweeney’s defensive prowess:
Sweeney takes pride in his defensive versatility. Having played nearly every position, he could be an excellent fit at third base for the Yankees. However, he might still be a few years away from becoming a regular at the MLB level, which means the Yankees will require a stop-gap for the 2024 season.
“I feel pretty comfortable anywhere in the infield,” Sweeney told The Athletic. “I’ve played a lot of third and second in college and high school as well so I have experience pretty much anywhere in the infield, so I’m ready to play wherever.”
One factor that works in Trey’s favor is that he’s a left-handed hitter. Standing at 6’2″ and weighing 200 pounds, he has an ideal size and could further develop his game, eventually becoming a starting-level player at the highest level. As the Yankees’ first-round pick in 2021, he possesses the talent and quality to make a difference.
While Sweeney is projected to be a utility player in the future due to his versatility, the Yankees have a need that he can fulfill. Somerset manager Raul Dominguez praised Sweeney for his exceptional defensive skills at shortstop and his performance at the plate.
“He’s really impressed seeing him play at shortstop with all the tools that he has,” Dominguez said. “All he does in practice, he wants to see video all the time. Offensively, it seems like every time I see him in the batter’s box, it seems like he’s going to do damage.”Via The Athletic
Sweeney values plate discipline and getting on base, making him a valuable asset the Yankees could utilize in the future. Even if he doesn’t develop into a prominent slugger, the short right porch in Yankee Stadium suits his bat. A player who gets on base and hits for contact is undoubtedly an asset.
“Mainly just swing decisions have been my thing,” Sweeney said. “Learning what pitches to take and swing at has helped me a lot with drawing walks and getting on base so that has been my main focus.”Via The Athletic
First things first, getting to the Triple-A level and showcasing his value there will give the Yankees plenty of confidence in eventually promoting him. A great spring training with the Major League squad next year could go a long way toward building his case to receive a promotion.