Atlanta Braves claim infielder Jack Mayfield off waivers

The Atlanta Braves continued adding depth today, with their first waiver claim of the 2020 offseason.

Just after lunch today, the Atlanta Braves official Twitter account announced that the team had claimed utility infielder Jack Mayfield off waivers from the Astros. Mayfield’s addition to the 40-man roster is the second in two days and brings the total to 38.

The departure of Charlie Culberson and Adeiny Hechavarria, and the Atlanta Braves growling frustration with Johan Camargo, meant the team needed a defensively-oriented infielder for depth.

Mayfield grew up in Del Rio, Texas, and played shortstop for Del Rio high school and earned Honorable mention on the Rawlings® and Perfect Game USA Texas Region team after graduation in 2009.

He attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman and played for the Sooners for the next four seasons. As a freshman, he played short, second, and pitched, finishing the season batting .235/.349/.294/.643 in 34 PA and pitching to a 2.47 ERA in 17 games, including five starts.

Mayfield pitched in 2011 as well, before moving to middle-infield for good in 2012, batting ..266/.338/.399/.737 in 589 PA, walking 33 times and striking out 56.

Mayfield signed with the Astros as an undrafted free agent in June 2013 and played 55 games between Rookie and A-Ball. He reached AA in 2015 and made his AAA debut the following season with Fresno in the PCL. In 2017 he split time between AA and AAA, finally moving to AAA permanently in 2018.

In his last two years of AAA-Ball, Mayfield posted a 278/.337/.508/.845 line that including 57 doubles, two triples, and 26 homers, walking 70 times and striking out 170 times in 910 PA, 813 AB. He split 2019 between AAA and Houston and was part of the Astros 60-player pool for 2020.

While Mayfield has shown some pop, his bat hasn’t consistently caught up with Major League pitching yet. Mayfield looks like a dependable defender at short, second, and third, something the Atlanta Braves needed after the departure of both Hechavarria and Culberson.

The Atlanta Braves can stash their new infielder at Gwinnett this year and next, as Mayfield has two option years remaining.

Mayfield is the second depth piece added in the last week. On November 13, the team signed RHP Emmanuel Ramirez to a minor league deal. Ramirez kicked around the Padres system for the past six seasons but was unable to stick at AAA. The Friars used him as a starter, and the Atlanta Braves will probably do the same, with Pearl his likely home to start 2021.

That’s a wrap

Mayfield and Ramirez aren’t going to move the needle much, but every team needs depth, and Mayfield, in particular, fills an important vacancy. You may follow Mayfield on Twitter and  Instagram, as @jackmayfield8.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll see more moves like this, perhaps including signing a non-tendered player or two when the final names come out. When that happens, we’ll let you know here on  The Take.