Why Trey Sweeney is a great acquisition for the Dodgers

(Via MiLB.com)

Details of a trade between the Yankees and Dodgers that was reported on Sunday were finally revealed Monday morning, which Chad had looked at in a post at the time. Essentially, the Dodgers cleared two 40-man roster spots, with minor league infielder Jorbit Vivas and left-handed reliever Victor González headed to New York. In return, Los Angeles got back minor league shortstop and former first round pick Trey Sweeney.

The Dodgers were backed into a corner to create room on the 40-man roster. The signings of right-hander Joe Kelly and, most importantly, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, could not become official until two roster spots were vacated. Los Angeles needed to make a move, taking away their leverage, and making it much harder to get a quality return. Still, Andrew Friedman managed very nicely in this trade, and it’s Trey Sweeney that I want to focus on here.


Sweeney was drafted 20th overall by the Yankees just two years ago. The infielder was regarded as one of the best college bats in the 2021 class after posting an absurd .382/.522/.712 slash line in his junior season at Eastern Illinois.

While it certainly hasn’t been bad, Sweeney’s bat hasn’t quite lived up to all the hype so far. He has a solid .790 career OPS as a professional and slashed .252/.367/.411 in Double-A last year. That went for an above-average but not quite incredible 118 wRC+ in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League.

Sweeney stood out at the plate out of college with flashy mechanics, using an exaggerated leg kick and bat tilt in his load to generate power. The Yankees had him simplify some of those mechanics last year, but Sweeney still has a fun swing to watch when he connects.

Overall, Sweeney has solid hit and power tools, with both coming in around average, although the power is a little ahead. He has quality plate discipline that will boost his on-base ability even if his average drops compared to other middle infielders of a similar profile. The Dodgers will likely prioritize whatever power they can get out of him as the best way to maximize his offensive output.

Defensively, Sweeney has faced concerns about an eventual move off shortstop since he was drafted. His 6-foot-2, 212 pound frame is fairly large for a shortstop, and he’s an average to slightly below-average runner. However, his instincts help him play up from his raw quickness, also showing through in his 51 stolen bases over the past two seasons. He has played exclusively shortstop in his 1,923 1/3 defensive innings as a pro, and the Dodgers will hope he can at least be serviceable at the position moving forward.

Sweeney’s ability to play shortstop, even if it’s at a barely passable level, is a big part of why he is a quality acquisition for Los Angeles. The system is severely lacking in true shortstop depth, and Sweeney, who will reach Triple-A in 2024, fills that ugly gap in the farm quite nicely. His big league future defensively may be more like a utility infielder who gets innings at second base and third base as well, but for now, he will handle some much needed innings at shortstop in the upper minor leagues.


Ultimately, in a situation where the Dodgers had no choice but to dump two players off the 40-man roster, the return could have been much worse than Sweeney, who is not Rule 5 eligible until next December. He fills a glaring need in the system while also having former first-round pedigree that the Dodgers will look to maximize. Although both are valuable, neither Vivas or González had clear roles in the organization moving forward, but Sweeney certainly could.

According to MLB Pipeline, Sweeney was the No. 8 prospect in the Yankees system before the trade, and he takes the No. 18 spot now with the Dodgers. I’d put Sweeney at around a 40 or 40+ future value grade, and he’ll also likely fall somewhere around the teens on my prospect list in the spring. He will be a fun name to watch and hope for a possible explosion in a new environment, and worst case, the Dodgers got a solid depth infielder back as they freed up roster space for the greatest baseball player on Earth.

About Bruce Kuntz

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I'm a Long Beach State journalism student and I've been writing about the Dodgers and their farm system since I was in high school.