The Toronto Blue Jays made a depth move Sunday, claiming first baseman Andy Wilkins on waivers from the Chicago White Sox, per Mike Wilner of Sportsnet (via Twitter).
In an ironic twist, the White Sox had to place Wilkins on waivers in order to designate him for assignment so they could clear a spot on their 40-man roster. Chicago needed that spot after it claimed right-hander Kyle Drabek on waivers from the Blue Jays earlier this week.
So, while it’s not an official trade or anything, think of Wilkins as some compensation for the Blue Jays for losing Drabek.
The 26-year-old Wilkins is coming off a very impressive 2014 season in the minor leagues with Triple-A Charlotte where he hit .293/.338/.558 with 30 home runs, 85 RBI and 79 runs scored in 127 games. For a power hitter, Wilkins also did a solid job of keeping his strikeouts under control. He struck out 91 times in 491 at-bats while walking 34 times.
Over his minor league career, the left-handed hitting Wilkins has amassed a slash line of .276/.349/.480 and an .830 OPS in 555 games.
While Wilkins—who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB draft by Chicago—has primarily played first base throughout his professional baseball career, he has also seen time at third base. That being said, Wilkins doesn’t really provide plus defense at either position and is likely best suited to be a designated hitter.
According to Peter Galindo of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have optioned Wilkins to Triple-A Buffalo where he’ll start off the 2015 season and serve as organizational depth.
While he has gaudy minor league numbers, Wilkins has not been able to translate that success to the major leagues. The White Sox called him up for a brief stint in the majors last season and the results weren’t pretty. Wilkins hit just .140 in 43 at-bats and struck out a whopping 22 times.
With Justin Smoak, Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion likely splitting time at the designated hitter and first base spots, it’s unlikely that Wilkins gets a chance to play in Toronto this season. But it never hurts to have depth in the minors in case of injury, trades or underperformance.
All stats are from MiLB.com.