The Braves announced Friday that they’ve claimed infielder Jack Mayfield off waivers from the Astros. Lefty Kyle Muller was also selected to the 40-man roster, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft. The moves bring Atlanta’s 40-man roster to a total of 38 players. Mayfield’s departure drops Astros’ 40-man count to 36.
Mayfield, 30, has seen time with the ’Stros in each of the past two seasons but managed only a .170/.198/.283 batting line through 112 plate appearances at the big league level. It’s obviously a tiny sample of work, however, and Mayfield’s career .268/.325/.472 slash in parts of four Triple-A seasons (1224 plate appearances) creates some more reason for optimism.
With the Astros, Mayfield served as a right-handed-hitting backup at second base, shortstop and third base, grading well defensively at each position. He also still has minor league options remaining, so he could be a depth piece the Braves shuttle between the Majors and Triple-A Gwinnett in 2021 if he survives the offseason on the 40-man roster.
Muller, 23, was a second-round pick by Atlanta back in 2016. He’s long ranked among the organization’s more promising arms and has impressed with a 3.12 ERA and nearly a strikeout per frame in 140 2/3 Double-A innings. However, he’s also been critiqued for sub-par command, and that flaw was apparent in 2019 when he walked 68 batters, plunked another seven and rattled off 16 wild pitches in 111 2/3 frames.