6'3" 215 lbs DOB: 4/4/1988
Bats: Left | Throws: Right
2009: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes/Charlotte Stone Crabs
Acquired: Trade with Los Angeles Angels(with Alex Torres and Sean Rodriguez for Scott Kazmir)
Behind Alex Torres and Sean Rodriguez, Matt Sweeney has sort of become the forgotten man from the Scott Kazmir trade, but he offers tantalizing potential with his bat if he can stay on the field and pull it together.
Drafted out of a Maryland high school in the 8th round of the 2006 draft, Sweeney had a hot debut and followed it with 18 homeruns in the Midwest League in 2007, but his entire 2008 season was wiped out with an ankle injury. He returned in 2009 and hit .299/.379/.517 in 58 games with Rancho Cucamonga(he also played four games with the AZL Angels and six with the Charlotte Stone Crabs after the trade). His strikeout and walk rates each improved from his 2007 season, but it's important to remember than his 2009 numbers came in the hitting-friendly Cal League.
Sweeney can generate power to all fields, though he only managed nine homeruns in 2009. His plate discipline improved but still needs work, though his contact rate was impressive. Sweeney isn't an adept third baseman and would project as fringe-average at best at the major league level. He has a strong arm but his range, footwork, and hands rate below-average. With Evan Longoria penciled in as the Rays' third baseman for quite some time, a move across the diamond to first base could be in store sooner rather than later.
Despite his struggles in the brief time he spent with Charlotte, Sweeney is ready for a promotion to AA. Both corner infield positions are "open" with no real prospects challenging for them, so while Sweeney could start at third, his future is almost certainly at first base though. An uptick in power from his 2009 season as well as continued development in the walk/strikeout categories will help Sweeney secure a ticket to the big leagues down the line.