Thursday, March 4, 2010
30 A's in 30 Days – Ryan Sweeney
Acquired: Traded from Chicago White Sox (with SP Gio Gonzalez and SP Fautino De Los Santos) for OF Nick Swisher (January 3, 2008).
Contract: One year thru 2010. (Eligible for arbitration after the season.)
Position: Starting RF
Projected BA/OBP/SLG: (.286/.350/.409)
Over/Under: Despite overwhelming past performance evidence to the contrary, there are still A's fans who believe Ryan Sweeney – one day, some day – will turn into a legitimate #3 hitter. Hell, the team even penciled him into the three-hole 20 times last year. So, ignore that the only time he's posted an OPS above .800 in a full season was as a 21-year-old at Triple-A in 2006. Ignore his Jason Kendallian career line vs. LHP (.244/.315/.310(!)). And, ignore last year's .407 slugging percentage, which ranked 24th among all RFs (on the plus side, it was refreshing to see someone beat Nats OF Elijah Dukes for a change).
So, with all that snark, why am I taking the OVER? Well, from June 20 until the end of the season he hit .328/.375/.469 and, on the year, improved against southpaws. In last year's season preview, I compared him to Mark Kotsay – whose first two full seasons were mediocre before a huge step forward in season three. Hey, it's Sweeney's third season!
By the Numbers: 15.5 – If you're into the esoteric defensive statistic UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), Sweeney's number led all RFs. If you prefer your eyes, trust me: this kid's put himself on the short list of best gloves in the game. Pretty sure I bashed his defense in last year's preview. I'm equally sure I won't be linking to that post here.
Surefire 2010 Prediction: Sweeney enters this season with 12 career home runs and I'm calling his shot on his behalf…he's going to hit exactly 12 home runs in 2010. This may or may not place him among the top three in home runs on the A's this season.
Tupac Track for the Season: Shorty Wanna Be a Thug