Newly Acquired Sweeney to Join Phillies

The long rumored trade of Chase Utley finally went down late Wednesday night, with the Phillies sending the veteran second baseman to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder/second baseman Darnell Sweeney and reliever John Richy. Sweeney will take Utley's roster spot with the Phillies.

Darnell Sweeney had quite a night Wednesday. The 24-year old wasn't in the starting lineup for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, but well before their game was over, he wasn't even a member of the team anymore. Sweeney was traded to the Phillies in the Chase Utley deal. A little later he found out that he was getting his first call to the majors and would join the Phillies in Miami for a series that begins Friday night.

Sweeney has played 45 games at second, 43 in center field, 19 in left and four games at third base this season with Oklahoma City, his first season at the Triple-A level. One of the problems that's been reported with Sweeney is finding a position that he's comfortable playing. The good news is that his defensive numbers are better this season, having cut his errors from 32 in 132 games last season to just nine in 111 this season. It should be pointed out though that he hasn't played any shortstop this season, a position that added 12 errors to his numbers last year. Last season in center, he made an error for every 12.75 chances and he's cut that to one every 52 chances this season. His errors at second have fallen from one every 23.56 chances in 2014 to one every 34.33 chances in 2015.

Another area that needs some work is Sweeney's strikeout rate. Over his career, he's struck out once every 4.7 plate appearances and that number isn't showing any improvement. Sweeney's walk rate has suffered this season, going from one walk every 9.8 plate appearances to one every 12.4 plate appearances this season.

Sweeney has good speed, having stolen 122 bases in four minor league seasons, but he's been caught 55 times, a little high for a player with his speed. He's also got decent power, with nine home runs this season after hitting 30 through his first three professional seasons.

The Phillies have not said where or how often they plan on playing Sweeney the rest of the season, but bringing him to the majors makes some sense, since they would have had to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, anyway. This will give him some on-the-job training albeit after just 116 games at the Triple-A level.

It's likely that Sweeney will make his major league debut against the Marlins, the team that originally drafted him in the 41st round of the 2009 Draft. Sweeney didn't sign with Miami, choosing instead to the University of Central Florida. The Dodgers drafted him in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft.


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