Batting sixth for the KC Royals: C Mike Sweeney
Mike Sweeney's journey with the Royals stands as a testament to dedication, skill, and a profound impact on the franchise. Born on July 22, 1973, in Orange, California, Sweeney's baseball odyssey began with his MLB debut for the Royals on September 14, 1995.
His prowess at the plate was evident early on. Sweeney consistently showcased his hitting prowess, amassing a stellar career batting average of .297. His first major league home run, a memorable moment for any player, came off the arm of Jamie Moyer on August 12, 1996.
Sweeney's excellence was repeatedly acknowledged with five All-Star selections spanning from 2000 to 2005. Among these accolades, his performance in June 2001 stands out prominently. That month, he boasted an awe-inspiring .392 batting average, coupled with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs, leading to a deserved recognition as the American League Player of the Month.
Beyond individual accolades, Sweeney's impact on the Royals was profound. His 215 career home runs and 909 RBIs underscored his ability to drive in runs consistently and showcased his power at the plate. Fans are quick to forget Sweeney was the third team captain in Royals history, holding the title from 2003 to 2007. Such contributions to the franchise's legacy culminated in his induction into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame on August 15, 2015, a fitting tribute to a player who left an indelible mark on the team and its fans.
Slotting Sweeney in at catcher is not without reproach, as he transitioned to first base early in his MLB career. However, considering the lack of quality options in Kansas City's history with Sweeney playing more than 200 games at catcher, it seems valid for this exercise. He does have 20.1 fWAR, a sizeable margin ahead of current Royals captain Salvador Perez.