3 recent draft picks Yankees got right and 2 they will regret
By Adam Weinrib
Yankees Draft Pick They Will Regret: Trey Sweeney, 2021 first round
The Yankees fell in love with small-school infielder Trey Sweeney, selecting him 20th overall in 2021 despite a glut of shortstop prospects in the current system. Ostensibly, they've been rewarded so far; Sweeney remains their sixth-best prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and he's been distinctly ... fine to begin his pro career.
Last season, Sweeney, a 6'2" left-handed hitter, batted .240 (eh), OBP'd .349 (good!), stole 31 bags (surprising), and popped 16 home runs (solid). This year, he's got the OBP up to .384 as a 23-year-old at Double-A, which is impressive for a small sample size. Despite the glut looking less intimidating than it used to (where is Roderick Arias these days?), the role of "shortstop of the future" appears to have been filled by Anthony Volpe, leaving Gleyber Torres and Oswald Peraza (and Oswaldo Cabrera) in limbo. With Sweeney stuck at Double-A, he's in an even more precarious section of that limbo.
There's a chance Torres is still traded, Peraza never takes hold of a big-league role, and Sweeney gets the chance to play second (or third) in the Bronx in 2024, with DJ LeMahieu slotting in elsewhere. But if the Yankees were dead set on adding another shortstop, it might've made more sense to grab someone who was further away in their development. High schooler Jackson Merrill went to the Padres seven picks later, and he's developed into Pipeline's No. 17 overall prospect.
We're not saying the Yankees should've added an arm here because their infield picture was so tightly compacted (though No. 29 overall pick Maddux Bruns, who went to the Dodgers, would've also looked nice...). It's just that they could've grabbed a higher-upside shortstop who was further away/wouldn't be knocking on the door of the big-league roster (in a best-case scenario) while Volpe and Peraza were still getting their legs under them. It still feels, deep down, like Sweeney's fated to be traded.