Trey Sweeney received only one Division I offer out of high school. Now, the Louisville, Ky. native is factoring into the future of baseball's most storied franchise.
The Yankees picked Sweeney with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft on Sunday night. Viewed as one of the best college hitters available in the first round, Sweeney is coming off a magnificent redshirt sophomore season at Eastern Illinois University, batting .382 (65-for-170) with 52 runs, 14 home runs, 58 RBI and 10 doubles over 48 games.
Thanks to those numbers, and some slick defense up the middle, Sweeney was named the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, becoming just the fourth player in program history to earn the honor.
In fact, in Eastern Illinois program history, he's the first player ever to earn First Team All-American honors at the NCAA Division I level.
“We are really excited to have selected Trey Sweeney,” said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting. “He has excellent raw power and contact ability, and he can hit to all fields with strong plate discipline. At shortstop, he has a good clock, doesn’t play rushed and has good field awareness. His timing for both getting to ground balls and getting the ball across the infield is excellent. We also really like Trey’s make-up as he’s smart with good instincts. With his overall tool set, we believe he has the potential to be an impact player.”
While his final season at school was tremendous, Sweeney was able to sustain consistency at the plate through his entire college career. The shortstop hit .328/.437/.517 (134-for-408) with 87 runs scored, 22 doubles, 2 triples, 17 homers, 96 RBI, 72 walks and seven steals over three years at Eastern Illinois.
Sweeney has a bit of an unorthodox swing from the left side of the plate, but scouts love his bat-to-ball skills and ability to drive the baseball to all fields. That'll play as he prepares to face better pitching, working his way up in the organization's farm system over the next several years.
Even if he doesn't stick at shortstop at the next level—a position New York has addressed in the first round three times now in the last seven drafts—he should transition seamlessly to a role at third base.
The 21-year-old was at the draft on Sunday, confidently slipping into pinstripes for the first time after his name was called by commissioner Rob Manfred.
"Absolutely surreal," Sweeney said in an interview with MLB Network. "It feels great to put this iconic logo on my chest and my hat. Just thankful and blessed, this is awesome."
Fans won't see Sweeney suited up in the Bronx for quite some time, but the shortstop surely won over a portion of the fan base with his words on Sunday night.
"Let's get to work," he said. "Let's do this."
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