Darnell Sweeney

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Darnell Thomas Sweeney

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Biographical Information[edit]

"(Sweeney) is making a case for more playing time. He ripped a two-run home run to left-center field in the second inning of Saturday night's 4-3 victory over the Padres at Citizens Bank Park." - from an MLB article titled Sweeney Opening Eyes in Philadelphia, Aug. 29, 2015 [1]

Darnell Sweeney began playing in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system in 2012. He was up in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015 and the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018.

Sweeney hit .385 with 25 steals as a high school sophomore, .447 with 21 swipes as a junior and .421 as a senior. He was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 41st round of the 2009 amateur draft, but did not sign. He hit .358/.410/.453 with 51 runs in 55 games, stealing 17 bases in 23 tries as a college freshman. He tied for 5th in Conference USA in swipes. He slumped to .287/.367/.396 as a sophomore. His junior year, he did not rebound (.261/.369/.370). He stole 20 bases in 28 attempts and scored 50 runs in 61 games. He tied John Wooten for 5th in the conference in runs and tied for third in steals. He did ink a contract after the Dodgers took him in the 13th round of the 2012 amateur draft, one pick ahead of pitcher Mike Morin. The scout was Scott Hennessey.

With the Ogden Raptors (.303/.380/.379 in 16 G) and Great Lakes Loons (.291/.372/.447 in 51 G) in 2012, he hit .294/.374/.430 with 5 home runs, 33 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 33 tries in 67 games while playing shortstop and the occasional game at second base. Despite joining the franchise mid-season, he tied Leon Landry for 5th among Dodgers farmhands in swipes. He hit .275/.329/.455 with 11 home runs, 77 RBI, 16 triples, 48 stolen bases and 151 strikeouts in 134 games for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2013 while fielding .929 at SS. He led the California League in triples (two more than Delino DeShields Jr.), was third in steals (behind Travis Jankowski and DeShields), was caught stealing the most (20 times, two more than DeShields) and was 5th in strikeouts. Among Dodgers minor leaguers, the Floridian was 5th in runs (between Noel Cuevas and Alex Castellanos), led in triples (3 ahead of Scott Schebler), led in doubles (34, two ahead of O'Koyea Dickson), was 4th in RBI (between Dickson and Corey Seager), was second in steals (one behind Dee Gordon), was caught stealing the most and was second in whiffs. He tied Andrew Toles for third in the minor leagues in three-baggers, two behind Byron Buxton and one shy of Mike Massaro.

He began 2014 with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. That season, the Dodgers began to give him playing time in the outfield, in addition to 2B and SS. In 132 games for Chattanooga, he hit .288/.387/.463 with 34 doubles and 14 homers, scoring 88 runs and driving in 57. However, he was only successful in 15 of 31 attempts at stealing bases, a very poor percentage for a player with his speed. In 2015, he was sent to the Oklahoma City Dodgers, playing in AAA for the first time. He continued to split his time between the infield and outfield and in 116 games hit .271/.332/.409 with 30 doubles and 9 homers.

On August 19th, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with P John Richy in return for veteran 2B Chase Utley. He was immediately called up to the big leagues and made his debut the next day when he popped out as a pinch-hitter for Cesar Jimenez against Brad Hand in the 5th inning a 9-7 loss to the Miami Marlins. He hit only .176 in 37 games in his first taste of the majors, but drew walks well and showed some power. He then spent all of 2016 in the minor leagues, with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, where he hit .233 in 118 games, with 6 homers and 35 RBIs. On November 11th, he was traded back to the Dodgers, alongside Darin Ruf, in return for IF/OF Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney was in the minors for most of 2018, but was brought up by the Blue Jays twice during the season, each time for one game, going a combined 0 for 2 with a pair of walks.

In 2019, he started the season playing independent ball, but was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 15th to play for their AAA level team the Indianapolis Indians. He then returned to the American Association, this time with the Winnipeg Goldeyes, in 2020. The Association was one of the few minor league circuits in North America to play some games in spite of the Coronavirus pandemic; he hit .277 with 14 homers and 38 RBIs in 60 games during the strange season in which Winnipeg never played in its home province due to cross-border travel restrictions. He continued playing independent ball in 2021, this time with the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Association; he had played for their predecessors, the Kansas City T-Bones, prior to signing with Pittsburgh in 2019.


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