The New York Yankees may need to consider pressing the reset button come next off-season to avoid stagnation with an aging, underperforming veteran roster. Leveraging the potential of youthful talents, often a recipe for success for leading clubs, could be crucial as they look to bounce back.
However, the Yankees have been somewhat reluctant to provide opportunities to younger players at the MLB level, with exceptions such as Anthony Volpe, whose rookie season has been challenging. Oswald Peraza has had occasional opportunities, while Oswaldo Cabrera has been repeatedly demoted to AAA due to insufficient offensive performance.
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Opening in the Third Base Position
With Josh Donaldson’s contract expiring post this season, the third base position is up for grabs. Donaldson recently sustained a torn calf muscle, curtailing his season prematurely and concluding his turbulent tenure with the Yankees.
If the Bombers are contemplating nurturing homegrown talent for the “hot corner”, 23-year-old AA prospect Trey Sweeney, ripe for a AAA promotion, could be in the frame.
Trey Sweeney: The Yankees’ Promising Prospect
In the current season with Somerset, Sweeney has had a commendable performance over 84 games, boasting a .253 batting average and a .369 OBP, inclusive of 13 homers and 48 RBIs. His statistics also reveal an 18.9% strikeout rate, a 13.9% walk rate, and 123 wRC+. Although the quality of pitching in AAA is higher, Sweeney’s current pace suggests he can comfortably hit 20+ homers per season.
Originally a shortstop, Sweeney potentially fits well in the third base position and could gain experience in that role within the minor-league system. His lefty batting style is a perfect match for the short right porch of the Yankee Stadium. Presently, Sweeney is on an eight-game hitting streak, which includes three games with two or more hits and 11 RBIs.
A Complete Player in the Making
Trey Sweeney’s profile is marked by impressive athleticism and commendable speed, enabling him to excel in base running and deliver prompt defensive reactions. Given that Volpe has solidified his place in the shortstop role, Sweeney’s transition to third base could occur sooner than later, where his range will not be an issue.
According to MLB.com’s prospect profile:
“Sweeney has some deceptive athleticism and has worked to improve his speed… He swiped 31 bases in 34 attempts last year and also showed improved range at shortstop… He’ll still probably move to third base in the future, and his bat, reliable hands and solid arm strength all will fit nicely at the hot corner.”
With exceptional hand-eye coordination, Sweeney has demonstrated the ability to accurately hit the ball and maintain solid contact. Over time, his strikeout rate has decreased, and his plate discipline has improved. His consistent double-digit walk rate throughout his minor-league career suggests he’s ready for the next step; the question is when the Yankees deem him ready.
At the age of 23, there’s no better time for Sweeney to gain experience in AAA and compete for the starting third base position with the Yankees during next year’s spring training.