I'm holding off on writing my game wrap-up. I've found that it's better to calm down for a little while after frustrating losses before I post explicative laced rants on the internet for all to see. I'll have one up at my usual time, right before I head to bed. Until then I'll ask you this, is Ryan Sweeney the next Joe Mauer?
Stick with me on this one for a little bit. Both Mauer and Sweeney were drafted straight out of high school's set in the Midwest. These places aren't exactly known for producing a ton of major league prospects. Mauer was the first overall pick in 2001, and actually rose in the draft because of Mark Prior's signability issues. Sweeney dropped to the second round for two reasons:
- Scouts were unsure of his bat because of the competition he played against (Iowa plays baseball only in the summer, which is detassling season in the CR area. I'm not going to get into the economics of growing up in Iowa, but most males who live near farms have their first jobs in High School, or before, in the fields for a few weeks at the end of every summer.)
- There were some signability concerns.
Even if Sweeney's bat is extremely comparable to Mauer's, it's of less value to the Sox because he plays a corner outfield position. Good left-handed hitting catchers are a rare find, much rarer than a good lefty outfielder. Sweeney does have a good glove, however, and is reported to have the best outfield arm in the Sox system. I will be following his progress this season very closely.
At age 21, Mauer was penciled in to the Minnesota line-up, completely skipping AAA. He injured his knee in the first couple of weeks, though, and only got 106 major league at-bats. Sweeney should advance to AAA next season, and be ready for a call-up in the second half, or opening day 2007. His power hopefully won't be far behind.