Friday, April 25, 2014

DFA'd outfielder musical chairs

It started when the Oakland Athletics designated Sam Fuld for assignment. The Twins put in a waiver claim and landed the 32-year-old outfielder.

To make room on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters, the Twins designated Darin Mastroianni for assignment. Toronto — the organization from which the Twins landed Mastroianni to begin with — claimed him on waivers. To make room on their 40-man roster, the Blue Jays waived Kenny Wilson.

And the Twins claimed him on Thursday. Wilson, 24, takes the 40-man roster spot opened by the official retirement of Jason Bartlett; that paperwork hadn't gone through in time for the spot to be used to add Fuld.

Wilson's been assigned to Double A New Britain, where he'll play center field until Byron Buxton gets there. The RockCats have apparently been limping along with Mike Kvasnicka and Corey Wimberly in center. Kvasnicka is a part-time catcher and Wimberly is a 30-year-old who has played mostly second base in a decade of minor league ball, so odds are neither belonged in center defensively.

Wilson does. The problem is, he hasn't hit on any level. He was at .210/.239/.306 in 15 games for the New Hampshire FisherCats when the Jays waived him.

This year's Baseball America Prospect Handbook voices some optimism about Wilson. It has him as the Jays' 22nd prospect:

Wilson has developed at a slow pace but began to turn his tools into baseball skills in his fifth pro season ... an electric athlete who is a plus center-field defender ... Wilson, who switch hit earlier in his career, is now hitting only righthanded, his natural side, and his bat has improved enough that he could be a fringe-average hitter with continued development ...

BA gave him a grade of 45 High, which would put him in a clump of Twins prospects from 21 through 30 or deeper. I don't know that he'd rate that high in the Twins system; frankly, the fact that Toronto waived him this early in the season suggests that they weren't sold on the 2013 "improvement" as a hitter.

If Wilson has a major league future with the Twins, it will be as a reserve outfielder. (Like Sam Fuld, who started this whole sequence.) I wouldn't bet on that happening either, but for a couple weeks he'll shore up center for the RockCats — who are, like everybody else in Twins Territory, waiting for Buxton.

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