Top Prospect #20: RHP Matt Sweeney

Prior to the 2001 Draft, there were some scouts that considered Matt Sweeney the third best pitcher on his high school team. That means that either the Hamilton-East Steinert High School baseball team in Yardville, New Jersey either had a great staff or Sweeney was just an okay pitcher. As Sweeney progresses, more and more scouts believe that the small high school was a hot bed of pitching.

Scouts routinely watched the Hamilton-East Steinert baseball team in the summer of 2001. They were primarily there to watch two pitchers – Mike Rogers and Chris Neylan – who they thought were both solid major league prospects. Before long, they were also watching Matt Sweeney, another pitcher on that team. The prevailing thought that Sweeney was good, but not as good as either of the other pitchers. As the summer wore on, more and more scouts were looking at Sweeney and his stock rose quickly. When draft day arrived, it was Sweeney who got the first call as the Phillies drafted him in the 11th round of the draft. Rogers and Neylan were both drafted as well, but further behind their teammate.

 

In three seasons, the young right-hander has been impressive. His first two seasons were spent in the Gulf Coast League. In those two seasons, Sweeney went 6-7, 2.91 working primarily as a starter. In 2003, the Phillies moved Sweeney to Lakewood for his first full season of professional baseball and the move went pretty well. The Phillies also used Sweeney as both a starter and reliever, having him pitch 9 of his 26 games out of the bullpen. The Lakewood team was far from a powerhouse squad and Sweeney struggled to a 4-12 record, but posted a respectable 4.00 ERA. Keep in mind that Sweeney just turned 20 years old last February.

 

Sweeney features a strong, two-seam fastball that he is able to keep down in the zone. The Phillies have worked with Sweeney on improving the pitch even more and as he's filled out, he's developed a little more velocity. While they've worked with him on fine tuning, the Phillies haven't had to do anything major with Sweeney's delivery, which was smooth and fluid all through high school. The Phillies are working on Sweeney's control, which has been suspect at times.

 

In high school, Sweeney often worked as the team's closer and there is some thought being given to eventually returning him to that role in the minors. For now though, the Phillies are leaning toward using Sweeney in the starting rotation and he will likely start 2004 at Clearwater or at least arrive there before too long.

 

Matt Sweeney's Career Stats

 

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2001 GCL

(Rookie)

2

2

3.41

0

9

5

29.0

8.7

5.0

5.0

2002 GCL

(Rookie)

4

5

2.69

0

12

12

67.0

7.5

3.6

5.1

2003 Lakewood

(Low A)

4

12

4.00

0

26

17

114.2

9.1

5.3

5.8

Career Totals

10

19

3.50

0

47

34

210.2

8.5

4.4

5.5


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