With their first pick in the 2021 MLB Draft the New York Yankees selected Trey Sweeney at 20th overall. Trey Sweeney a 6-feet 4-inch, 200 pounds, shortstop from Eastern Illinois University. Both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America ranked him as the 55th best prospect on their top draft prospects list.
Sweeney has risen from a player with only one offer to play Division-1 baseball in college to first round draft pick in the last three years. He hit .382/.522/712 with 14 home runs in 48 games this season. Sweeney is known for his ability to control the strike zone as he walked 20 percent of the time while striking out just 11 percent of the time during his Junior year in college. Eastern Illinois did not play a powerhouse schedule but Sweeney recorded two hits and another line drive against fellow first round draft pick Jordan Wicks when the two faced off during the college season.
There are some concerns about his big leg kick and the mechanics of his swing but that is not uncommon with young players. Any potential changes in his swing mechanics are viewed as more of a tweak as opposed to major overhaul.
Defensively scouts see reliable hands and a slightly above average arm. He is a strong player but does not have elite speed and most scouting reports think that he will be moving to third base or a corner outfield position down the road.
If the Yankees are going to attempt to play Sweeney at the shortstop position then he will join a crowded group of prospects that includes top-100 prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Those players are joined by other talented shortstops Josh Smith and Alexander Vargas in the system. Shortstop is the deepest position the Yankees system with outstanding prospects at nearly every level. If the organization decides to move him to third base as many scouts anticipate then he will become the Yankees top prospect at the position. The Yankees currently do not have any corner infielders ranked among their top-30 prospects by either MLB.com or Baseball America.
The left-handed hitter also fits a trend with the Yankees as they have now drafted Josh Smith, Jake Sanford, Austin Wells and Trevor Hauver within the first three rounds of their respective drafts since 2019. The Yankees major league lineup and minor league system has been repeatedly criticized for being too right-handed in recent years but the organization is focusing on building a strong pipeline of lefty bats throughout the system.
Sweeney’s message to Yankees fans in an interview with MLB Network was “Let’s get to work, I’m excited.”
Depending on how quickly he signs, Sweeney could see action in either the Florida Complex League or as an advanced college bat, possibly with the Yankees Low-A Tampa affiliate. If he plays in Low-A he could possibly cross paths with the Yankees previous two first round picks, Anthony Volpe (2019) and Austin Wells (2020). Sweeney will likely slot in as one of the Yankees top-10 to 15 prospects when the organizational rankings are updated in the near future.
Following Sunday’s first round the draft will resume on Monday at 1 pm EST when Rounds 2 through 10 will be completed. The Yankees next pick 55th overall.
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