August 20, 2015
Even though Chase Utley owns the second-highest WAR in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, the buildup to his trade didn’t come close to matching that of Cole Hamels. If the Phillies’ major transactions over the past year were a dinner, the Jimmy Rollins trade was the appetizer, the Hamels deal was the main course, and the Utley trade felt like dessert.
This is of course because the players are at different stages of their careers. If Utley was on the block back in 2010, the Phillies would have expected a much greater return than they received from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. Instead, Hamels was the player that could bring back the blue-chip prospects — By the way, Nick Williams went 3-5 with a double last night in a continuation of his assault on the Eastern League — so he was the guy we focused on.
This is all a long-winded way of saying that utility guy Darnell Sweeney and right-handed pitcher John Richy aren’t in the class of Williams, Jake Thompson, and Jorge Alfaro as prospects. Still, they’ll provide even more depth to an organization that has been replenished to a certain extent over the season. Let’s quickly get acquainted with them.
Draft: Round 13 (2012, LAD)
MLB Pipeline Dodgers/Phillies Rankings: 13th/11th
2015 Stats: .271/.332/.409 in 472 at-bats at Oklahoma City (AAA)
The trade provides Sweeney with an opportunity, as he is ticketed for the big leagues right away:
INF/OF Darnell Sweeney will have his contract selected tomorrow to fill Utley's spot on the 25-man roster.— Phillies (@Phillies) August 20, 2015
From reading a decent sample of the reports on him, Sweeney projects as a utility player off the bench or perhaps a low-end starter if most things break correctly. The 24-year-old is a fast runner, although he has been caught stealing quite a bit during his minor-league career. Sweeney has been moved all over the diamond defensively, and seems capable/average at second base, center field, and maybe even shortstop. As you can see in the spring training video from above, he does possess some pop.
Overall, Sweeney is a guy who has methodically worked his way up the Dodgers’ system. While he doesn’t seem to have a plus tool to hang his hat on, Sweeney can do a lot things on the diamond adequately. It will be interesting to see how the Phillies decide to “utilize” him at the end of the year here. I’ll show myself out.
Draft: Round 3 (2014, LAD)
MLB Pipeline Dodgers/Phillies Rankings: 29th/30th
2015 Stats: 10-5, 4.20 ERA, 7.60 K/9, 2.46 BB/9 in 124.1 innings pitched at Rancho Cucamonga (High-A)
No, not the fullback. The Phillies have acquired a bunch of back-end starter types over the past year, and that is exactly how Richy profiles if most things go his way. His best pitch is likely his fastball, which he can throw in the low-90s with some good sinking action. Richy was a third-round pick out of UNLV just last year.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann