One of the bright spots of the rough start to the Boston Red Sox regular season has been new right fielder Ryan Sweeney. He gets Ace’s Player of the Week for his clutch and consistent hitting so far on the young season. In five games, he’s had at least one hit in each of the games, with two hits three out of the five games. With two doubles, one triple, and two walks, he has two RBIs and has scored one run. He has a .444 BA, .500 OBP, .667 SLG, and 1.167 OPS. These stats will not stay quite as high as the season progresses, but if he can stay consistent, he could give the Sox a nice boost in the outfield and their line-up.
The 27-year old left-handed outfielder is playing in his seventh year in the Major Leagues. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and made his debut for the team for the September call-ups in 2006. That year, he played in 18 games, had a .229 BA, eight hits that were all singles, five RBIs, zero walks, and seven strikeouts. The next season, he started down in the minors, but came back up for 15 games where he hit .200, had three doubles, one homerun, and five RBIs.
Sweeney was traded to the Oakland Athletics during the 2008 off-season and once again started the season out in the minors. He played in 115 games and had a much improved .286 BA, with 18 doubles, two triples, and five homeruns. His best year in Oakland was in 2009 when he played in 134 games and had a stat line of .293 BA, .348 OPB, .407 SLG, .755 OPS. He hit 31 doubles, three triples, six homeruns, with 40 walks, 67 strikeouts, six stolen bases, and 53 RBIs. He played with Oakland for three more seasons, until he was traded to the Red Sox with closer Andrew Bailey during the 2011 off-season.
As an outfielder, he has played well at all three positions. In 78 games in left-field, he has a 1.000 FPCT, in 153 games in center, he has a .997 FPCT with only one error, and in 274 games in right-field, he has a .994 FPCT with three errors. Sweeney has not made an error in the past five seasons, starting in 2010 and including 2012. A solid fielder is important for the Red Sox in the vast area of right-field. Most likely, he will split time with Cody Ross when Carl Crawford comes off the DL, but if he keeps playing at an impressive clip, the job will be his to lose.
Sweeney’s career line in the Major Leagues is .284 BA, .344 OBP, .382 SLG, .726 OPS, 203 R, 436 H, 85 2B, 11 3B, 14 HR, 171 RBI, 141 BB, 238 SO, 17 SB, and 9 CS. Though some have criticized him for his lack of power hitting homeruns, in this lineup, all he has to do is get on base. Hopefully he can continue to play well and the team will come together.