The Kansas City T-Bones have signed outfielder Darnell Sweeney for the 2019 season.
Darnell Sweeney comes to Kansas City, Kansas, with an impressive resume, including service time in the big leagues. Sweeney was drafted in the 13th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 but most recently was with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
In 2018, Sweeney spent the majority of the season with the AAA Buffalo Bison in the International League where he hit .236 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs after signing a minor league contract on April 3.
He had his contract purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays on June 29, 2018, but was optioned back to AAA on July 2. He was recalled on July 31st, but was then designated for assignment on Aug. 2. After clearing waivers, he was outrighted to Buffalo two days later and then was placed on the temporary inactive list from Aug. 9 – 13. In his two big league stints, he would go 0-for-2 but work a pair of walks in two games.
The Cincinnati Reds invited Sweeney to spring training in 2018 as a non-roster invitee, but he was released from AAA Louisville before the season started. The 2017 season, the Florida native started the season at AAA Oklahoma City with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization but saw his services traded to the Reds on May 28, 2017.
In 38 games at OKC he hit .227 with four home runs and 15 RBIs and stole seven bases (out of eight attempts) in the Pacific Coast League. Back in the International League with the Louisville Bats, Sweeney hit .281 in 81 games with seven long balls and 29 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He was third on the club in walks with 35 and third in stolen bases.
In 2016 Sweeney spent the entire year with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in the International League, the AAA club of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 118 games he hit .233 with six home runs and 35 RBIs. The Phillies shipped Sweeney and Darin Ruf back to the Dodgers in exchange for Howie Kendrick on Nov. 11, 2016, following the 2016 season.
The 2015 season was eventful for Sweeney. He started the season with the Dodgers organization, playing in 116 games at AAA Oklahoma City. He hit .271 with nine home runs and drove in 49 runs. Sweeney led the club in walks with 42, and his 32 stolen bases led the team and placed him third in the PCL in that category.
Although his season was just beginning with the Dodgers system, Los Angeles traded Sweeney to the Philadelphia Phillies, along with RHP John Richy, for second baseman Chase Utley and cash on Aug. 19, 2015.
The Phillies selected his contract a day later and sent Sweeney to the big leagues. He made his debut on that night as a pinch runner in a 9-7 Phillies loss at Miami. His first Major League hit would come two days later on Aug. 22 as a pinch hitter, when he took the Marlins’ Justin Nicolino deep in the 8th to cut a 2-0 Miami lead to 2-1. The Phillies went on to win 4-2.
Following his selection by the Dodgers, Sweeney began his climb up the organizational ladder, reaching AAA in 2015. In the AA Southern League Sweeney played in 132 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs and carried a .288 clip for the season. He stole 15 bases to lead the club and finish third in RBIs. His .387 on-base percentage was tops on the club ahead of future breakout star Cory Seager, who was second with a .381 mark. Sweeney scored a team and league-leading 88 runs as a Lookout in 2014 and was selected to the mid-season All-Star Team in the Southern League.
In 2013 Sweeney spent the entire season at High A Rancho Cucamonga in the California League. He stole 48 bases and drove in 75 runs with 11 homers, carrying a .275 average on the season. His 48 stolen bases led the Quakes and placed him third in the California League.
Following the draft, Sweeney split time at rookie-level Ogden in the Pioneer League, hitting .303 in 16 games and then adding another 51 games at Low A Great Lakes in the Midwest League where he hit .291 in 51 games and added five home runs. Combined at the two stops, he swiped 27 bases in 67 games.
Sweeney hails from Broward County (Miami area), Florida, and was born in Carver Ranches, Florida. He played at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where he was drafted after his junior season. Sweeney started all 61 games at shortstop for the Knights in 2011 and 2012, his final two collegiate seasons. He hit .261 with 35 RBIs and stole 20 bases, a career high in college. Sweeney was named to the Coral Gables All-Regional Team and was a Conference USA Preseason First Teamer.
He played a season of high school ball at Fort Lauderdale High School and finished his prep career at American Senior High in Miami. Sweeney was drafted in the 41st round in the 2009 draft by the Florida Marlins but did not sign. He was ranked the 243rd prospect nationally by Perfect Game Crosschecker in 2009 and was selected to the 2009 Rawlings Preseason High School All-American High Honorable Mention list. His senior season he hit .421 with 24 RBIs.
Full and half-season 2019 T-Bones ticket packages, as well as mini plans, are on sale now online or by calling 913- 328-5618 or by visiting the T-Bones Stadium offices. Group ticket sales are also on sale now. Opening day for the T-Bones is set for Friday, May 17, at T-Bones Stadium when the T-Bones play host to the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.