The Minnesota Twins have bolstered their depth at third base by signing Ryan Wheeler to a minor league deal per reports. He will report to Triple-A Rochester immediately and begin playing third base there.
The left-handed hitting third baseman was a former fifth-round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2009 draft. He was once regarded as a Top-30 prospect in the D-Backs’ organization before he got flipped to the Colorado Rockies for left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds. He spent two season with the Rockies before both sides parted way this past offseason.
He has hit well at every level of the minor leagues but has yet to successfully make a full transition to the majors as he only managed a .233/.280/.335 slash line over three seasons of big league play. It has also been questioned if he truly has the glove to man the hot corner or the power to hold down the first base slot. He’s able to drive the ball well to the opposite field but has yet to show those tools at the major league level.
He will help enforce depth at the hot corner. Current third baseman Trevor Plouffe is playing well and the team has no plans to demote him or replace him at this moment. His backup Eduardo Escobar is also playing well enough to supplant him at third base if needed should injuries or time off be needed for Plouffe. Highly regarded third base prospect Miguel Sano still needs time in the minors to develop his game and will not be in the club’s plans for this season it appears. Having Wheeler adds yet another option for third base this season in case injury or some unforseen circumstance to occur that threatens the Twins’ depth at third. Wheeler represents true left-handed bat at the hot corner unlike Escobar, who is a switch-hitter, and should Wheeler be able to show strong results at the Triple-A level then the Twins could consider calling him up for a left-handed bat off the bench when the time comes.
Written by: Daniel Sherriff @dsurbigapp