Trey Sweeney did not receive a ton of interest during the college recruiting process out of St. Xavier High in Louisville. Sweeney’s only Division I offer was from Eastern Illinois, where he verbally committed as a junior in 2017.
Three years since graduating from high school in 2018, Sweeney has gone from a lightly-recruited prep player to one of the top players in college baseball. The Eastern Illinois junior shortstop also is a well-regarded prospect for July’s MLB draft.
Scouts rank Sweeney as a potential top-two-round pick in this year’s draft.
“It is crazy to see my development,” Sweeney said. “I would have never thought my senior year that I would now be in the position I am today.”
Sweeney hit .271 with two home runs in his freshman season in 209 plate appearances in 2019. He was off to a notable start last year, posting a .351 batting average with one home run in 67 plate appearances, until the season ended prematurely due to the pandemic.
Sweeney has made significant strides this season, hitting .404 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 207 plate appearances. He also has drawn 41 walks while tallying 22 strikeouts.
Sweeney is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-handed hitter who is known for his offensive skill set. He has some pre-swing movement, but he remains balanced and consistently squares up the baseball. He has respectable power, strong plate discipline and a quality feel at the plate that allows him to succeed.
“I feel like I can play on both sides of the ball really well,” Sweeney said. “But mainly, just doing my job as a hitter with getting situational hits and doing some damage to provide a spark in the lineup to help my team is my biggest strength.”
Defensively, Sweeney plays shortstop for Eastern Illinois. Although he has handled the position well, scouts believe he might profile better at third base in the professional ranks.
Sweeney has a strong arm and reliable hands. But, some scouts wonder if he has the speed and range to handle shortstop long-term.
In preparation for pro ball, Sweeney hopes to refine his defensive skills. He believes he can play shortstop at the next level.
“Defensively, I just want to improve my range and quickness,” Sweeney said. “I want to continue to improve defensively.
“But also, I want to work on my discipline at the plate because sometimes I feel like I get myself out sometimes by swinging at bad pitches and getting too anxious. I feel like there is still some room to improve there.”
Throughout his collegiate career, Sweeney has made tremendous strides to go from a lightly recruited high school player to a top prospect for July’s draft. Although the draft is rapidly approaching, Sweeney is trying to remain focused on leading Eastern Illinois to a strong finish and the program’s first NCAA tournament berth since 2008.
“My only focus right now is getting us to the tournament, winning the OVC, and then playing in a regional,” Sweeney said. “That has been my one goal is to play in a regional before I leave here.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He has interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.