First-round pick and shortstop Trey Sweeney knows he has iconic shoes to fill at that position in the Bronx.
“It is definitely crazy. There is nobody like [Derek Jeter],” Sweeney, who the Yankees selected with the 20th pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, said in a conference call on Tuesday. “There are definitely some big shoes to fill, but it is my honor to try to do that in any way I can. I will come in and work hard and try to follow in his footsteps and be a great Yankee. I am up for the challenge and I am really excited for it.”
Twenty-nine years ago, the Yankees drafted Jeter – who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Sept. 8 – with the sixth-overall pick. Whenever the Yankees select a shortstop in the first round, like they have done three times in the past seven years, comparisons to Jeter will surely arise.
However, scouts have speculated Sweeney may not even be a shortstop at the major league level. The 21-year-old has experience at other infield spots, including third base.
“I would like to play shortstop,” Sweeney said. “I feel confident sticking at shortstop and playing at the highest level. But I know there’s some things I need to work on, including my speed, to be able to do that. I’m confident in myself to play short, but I’ve also had experience around the rest of the infield, so there wouldn’t be a problem for me either way. Whatever I have to do to help the Yankees organization is what I’ll do.”
Sweeney is ready to put in the work and prove people wrong – he only received one scholarship offer before starring at Eastern Illinois and was ranked the 55th overall in the class by MLB Pipeline – as he pursues his dream.
“Yeah, I did see that stuff. I try not to think anything of it,” Sweeney said. “The Yankees thought a little bit higher and I am happy to prove them right and work hard for their organization.”
Last season, the redshirt sophomore batted .382 with 14 homers and 58 RBI in 48 games at Eastern Illinois. After a successful college career, the Louisville, Kentucky native now is planning a trip to the Big Apple to see Yankee Stadium for the first time. And hopefully for Sweeney, it will not be his last.
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