With Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias as the headliners, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system has made progress on recovering from the days of being emptied under Frank McCourt’s control.
Although the aforementioned trio has garnered most of the attention, other prospects in the system are making headway and creating a name for themselves. Among them is Darnell Sweeney, who was ranked ninth in MLBPipeline.com’s Top-10 2015 second baseman prospects.
Below is MLB Pipeline’s assessment of the 23 year old:
One of the more athletic college infielders in the 2012 Draft, Sweeney slumped as a junior at Central Florida and dropped all the way to the 13th round. Since signing with the Dodgers, he has produced at four different Minor League stops. In 2014, he led the Double-A Southern League with 88 runs and 77 walks before performing well in the Arizona Fall League.
Sweeney doesn’t have a standout tool but can do a little bit of everything. He’s a switch-hitter who has made strides in tightening his strike zone and possessed more power than most middle infielders. He has solid speed but is still figuring out how to use it after leading his leagues in getting caught stealing in each of the last two seasons.
Primarily a shortstop in his first two pro seasons, Sweeney played mostly second base in 2014 and also saw time in center field. He projects as an average defender at second base with similar potential in center, though he’s fringy at shortstop. Howie Kendrick’s contract expires after this season, so Sweeney could get a crack at Los Angeles’ starting job in 2016.
Sweeney was selected in the 41st round of the 2009 draft by the Florida Marlins out of high school, but he opted to attend the University of Central Florida; the Dodgers then drafted Sweeney 13th in the 2012 draft.
After performing well in Rookie Level Ogden and Low-A Great Lakes, Sweeney played with High-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2013. Sweeney’s speed and versatility led to him hitting .275/.329/.455 with 11 home runs, 16 triples, 77 RBIs and 48 stolen bases.
Sweeney turned his success with the Quakes into a promotion to Double-A last season. Despite moving up a level in competition, Sweeney still performed well at the plate — batting .288/.387/.463 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs. He also added 15 stolen bases.
Along with making MLBPipeline.com’s list of top-10 second baseman prospects, Sweeney was ranked as the Dodgers’ eighth overall prospect by Baseball Prospectus.