Twins claim former Rangers first round pick off waivers from Yankees

Finally, some action!
New York Yankees v Texas Rangers
New York Yankees v Texas Rangers / Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/GettyImages

We've nearly reached the end of January and the Minnesota Twins have yet to make a meaningful move. The front office has mostly taken fliers on minor league players with potentially high upside, but nothing the team has done has moved the needle whatsoever with fans.

Aaron Gleeman finally grabbed his pitchfork this week, validating frustrated fans with an excellent piece over at The Athletic. Everything he said hits the nail on the head for how Twins fans feel, as the team has chased its most successful -- and promising -- postseason run since 2002 by doing exactly nothing.

Perhaps the first move in all of that changing was made.

Minnesota made a Big League addition on Wednesday, claiming former first round pick Bubba Thompson off waivers from the New York Yankees.

Thompson wasn't a first round pick by the Yankees, rather he was picked with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft -- notably 25 picks after Royce Lewis was selected by the Twins. Thompson didn't make his debut until 2022 and has bounced around waivers this year before finally landing in Minnesota.

It might not be a move that moves the needle on the surface, but digging a little deeper reveals that this could be the first interesting move the Twins have made all offseason.

Could Bubba Thompson be this year's Michael A. Taylor for the Twins?

Last year the Twins made a lowkey trade with the Royals to acquire Michael A. Taylor, a move that paid off dividens. He became Minnesota's everyday center fielder, and quietly turned in one of the best seasons of his career.

Thompson could potentially turn into that sort of unassumingly impactful addition.

According to Statcast’s average sprint speed metric, Thompson is the fastest player in the league. He's joining a team that ranked in the bottom five for stolen bases last year, with the Twins averaging less than half a stolen base per game.

His defense is also highly graded, albeit in the limited amount of time he's seen the field. he did spend 125 innings in left field last season with Texas, and has nearly 600 total outfield innings under his belt. That's where the comparison to Taylor's situation comes in, as there's raw potential for a top-flight defensive outfielder who also brings some other tools to the table.

That's also where the comparrison ends, for now. Taylor came to the Twins with plenty of big league experience, where Thompson has played less than two full seasons. He was DFA'd by the Rangers in August after slashing 170/.237/.283, which also raises concerns about his offense -- an area the Twins don't nee dhelp struggling.

He's a highly graded defensive speedster, though. It's hard to sell this as anything more than another intriguing lottery ticket -- like Josh Staumont -- but at least it's an addition to the 40-man roster and could be the start of Minnesota's front office actually doing something.

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