DARNELL SWEENEY, SECOND BASEMAN
|Born: February 1, 1991
Drafted: 13th Round, 416th Overall, 2012 (Dodgers)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: University of Central Florida
Agents: Reynolds Sports Management
WTM’s PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Sweeney was drafted as a very toolsy player, with power, speed and athleticism, but a need to improve his skills. He hit well coming up through the minors but had contact issues that eventually caught up to him in AAA. Originally a shortstop, he showed good range, but erratic play led to a move to second. He’s also spent a lot of time now at third and in center. He never managed to take good advantage of his speed on the bases, posting a lot of steals in the low minors but getting caught a lot. The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal in June 2019.
The Dodgers sent Sweeney initially to advanced rookie ball, but soon moved him up to low A. He hit well, showing solid power and stealing a lot of bases. He played mostly at short. Baseball America rated him 31st in the Dodgers’ system after the season.
Sweeney hit well, with solid power again, in high A. It was, however, the high-offense California League. He had trouble with strikeouts and, although he stole a lot of bases, got thrown out a lot. He played mostly short, but was erratic, with 34 errors in 108 games. BA rated him 24th in an increasingly good Dodgers’ system.
Sweeney had another strong season in a less favorable environment in AA. He continued hitting for power while sharply increasing his walk rate and cutting his K rate. He spent the majority of his time at second while also seeing time at short and in center. BA ranked him 16th in the Dodgers’ system.
In AAA, Sweeney didn’t hit as well as he had previously. In August, the Dodgers sent him to the Phillies in the waiver trade for Chase Utley. The Phillies immediately called him up and he spent the rest of the season with them. In the minors, Sweeney alternated between second and center, with a little time in left. With the Phillies he played mostly second and left. BA rated him 26th in the Phillies’ system.
Sweeney spent the season in AAA and took a big step backwards, struggling to hit all year. The Phillies used him mainly at second and third, and in center. In September, they outrighted him to AAA. After the season, the Phillies sent Sweeney back to the Dodgers in a trade for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney played in AAA for the Dodgers and continued to struggle at the plate, but in May they sent him to the Reds for cash. He spent the rest of the season in AAA with them and recovered somewhat. He played all over the field.
The Reds released Sweeney at the end of spring training and Toronto signed him a few days later. He spent most of the season in AAA, but got a couple of callups. Both times he was outrighted after a few days. He opted for free agency after the season.
Sweeney ended up with Kansas City of the independent American Association. He hit very well there before the Pirates signed him in mid-June. They did so because injuries to Ke’Bryan Hayes and Pablo Reyes left them short-handed at Indianapolis. He ended up seeing time at both Altoona and Indianapolis, mostly playing in the outfield but also at second, third and short. He even pitched twice for Indianapolis.
Sweeney will be a free agent in the fall.
|2019: Minor league salary
|Signing Bonus: $100,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: 8/20/2015
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: August 20, 2015 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2016)
MLB Service Time: 0.052
|June 11, 2009: Drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 41st round, 1238th overall pick.
June 6, 2012: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th round, 416th overall pick; signed on June 7.
August 19, 2015: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with John Richy to the Philadelphia Phillies for Chase Utley and cash.
August 20, 2015: Contract purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies.
September 5, 2016: Outrighted to AAA by the Philadelphia Phillies.
November 11, 2016: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Darin Ruf to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Howie Kendrick.
May 27, 2017: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations.
March 31, 2018: Released by the Cincinnati Reds.
April 3, 2018: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays.
June 29, 2018: Called up by the Toronto Blue Jays.
July 5, 2018: Outrighted to AAA by the Toronto Blue Jays.
July 31, 2018: Called up by the Toronto Blue Jays.
August 2, 2018: Designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays; outrighted to AAA on August 5.
June 15, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates