Monday, February 11, 2008

The #6th ranked prospect put up a 260-.324-.458 line with 18 HR's in 2007

By Chuck Richter - Senior Editor

Phillip Richmond had a chance to catch up with Matt Sweeney over the weekend and was kind enough to perform an interview of sorts with us. With Mark and Mike Sweeney signing with teams over the weekend, Matt heads to Tempe, AZ for spring camp and might be the most memorable of the Sweeney's when it comes to bringing the lumber once he hits Anaheim.

The left-handed hitting Sweeney pounded out 18 HR's, clubbed 29 doubles in just 439 at bats in '07, though he missed some time due to injuries but came back to finish the last 10 weeks of the season on a high note after a slow start.

Sweeney projects to hit for power down the road, he has a classic power hitters' swing that generates a lot of topspin. Playing in a league (Mid-West League) that featured some talented arms, Sweeney held his own as one of the youngest players in the league. One of those arms Matt faced was the Dodgers top prospect, Clayton Kershaw and Matt greeted him in the 2nd inning of the MWL All-Star Game with a towering home run off the talented southpaw.

So with no further ado, let's introduce you to......

Matthew Sweeney (3B, Los Angeles Angels)

Q: (Angelswin) When did you start playing baseball? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) I started playing ever since I can remember, in all my pictures as a kid I'm either holding a bat or a glove. I even wore out a patch in my family's front yard from playing ball so much.

Q: (Angelswin) Who was the most influential in your pursuit to the big leagues? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) There are a lot of people, but the one that stands out the most would have to be my dad. He's the one that taught me how to play, got me involved, kept me in the gym, and still makes me a better player today.

Q: (Angelswin) What baseball player was your favorite growing up? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) Don't laugh, but Brady Anderson.

Q: (Angelswin) Team you followed growing up? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) Baltimore Orioles

Q: (Angelswin) Best 1-game performance in your career to date? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) After my junior year in a Legion game, I hit three home runs.

Q: (Angelswin) What part of your game needs the most improvement? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) I feel like no matter how good you are, every aspect of your game can improve, so i would say I'm still working on everything. But if i had to pick one thing I'm focusing on, it would be defense.

Q: (Angelswin) What aspect of your game do you take the most pride in? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) I love to hit, I think its one of my strengths, and I love the challenge at the plate.

Q: (Angelswin) - Who impressed you both on the mound and in the batters box while you were with Cedar Rapids last year, and why?

A: (Matt Sweeney) Sean O'Sullivan was the most impressive on the mound.. he had a great season and i believe had the lowest era in the league. he has a plus fastball and good command of his off speed pitches and attacks really enjoy playing defense behind him.

Chris Pettit really impressed me as a hitter this season even through he was with us for only half the year before being promoted. There's a reason why the Angels named him minor league player of the year. He's a very talented player and a leader as well. He is a very disciplined hitter with a great approach and as a hitter myself I enjoyed watching him hit.

Q: (Angelswin) - Speaking of improving your defense at 3B, some pundits say you're not able to stick at the hot corner, does that motivate you to work harder to stick there? and have the Angels contacted you about a position change to 1B?

A: (Matt Sweeney) Well i try not to get caught up in what people say, although i have been working very hard on my defense. But hearing anything negative does motivate me in general. I have not talked to the angels about a position change, and i plan to stay at the hot corner.

The lighter side of Matt Sweeney

Q: (Angelswin) If there is one thing people should know about Matt Sweeney the person, it is? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) I'm really laid back, love to joke around, and I'm the youngest of six kids.

Q: (Angelswin) What’s your favorite food? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) Pizza, I actually just ordered some.

Q: (Angelswin) What kind of music do you listen to?

A: (Matt Sweeney) Rap, hip-hop, a little country, a little rock.

Q: (Angelswin) What’s your all time favorite movie? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) Dumb n' Dumber/Superbad...I love comedy.

Q: (Angelswin) What's your most visited website?

A: (Matt Sweeney) Sadly, facebook and are tied.

Q: (Angelswin) What do you like to do besides play baseball, what’s your hobby? –

A: (Matt Sweeney) Just hanging out with friends, going to the gym, and x box sport games.

Q: (Angelswin) What person are you going to call first when you get promoted to the big leagues?

A: (Matt Sweeney) My father, he has coached me most of my life and he never misses a game. And even though my mom probably knows from my dad's reaction, I'd have to talk to her. She's been a great supporter.

That's it for now, but we'll be sure to catch up Matt again in Tempe in a few weeks.

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