Mark Payton returns home to the Oakland A’s

The Cincinnati Reds selected Mark Payton in the Rule V Draft. On Tuesday, he came back home, having been returned to the Oakland A’s.

One could understand why the Cincinnati Reds were intrigued enough by Mark Payton to select him in the Rule V Draft. He possesses immense power potential, unlocked by a change in his swing prior to last season. However, the Reds also possess a crowded outfield, making Payton an unlikely option to begin the year in the majors.

On Tuesday, the inevitable occurred. Payton was placed on waivers, and when no other team claimed him, he was returned back to the A’s.

The A’s, for their part, did not waste any time in bringing him back in. He was added to their 60 man roster pool and assigned to their alternate camp in San Jose, ready to be called upon if need be.

Selected from the Yankees as part of the minor league phase of the Rule V Draft in 2018, Payton impressed in his first year as part of the A’s organization. He had altered his swing with an emphasis on putting the ball into the air, a move that paid off handsomely. While his numbers were likely aided by playing in Las Vegas, Payton posted an impressive .334/.400/.653 batting line, belting 30 doubles and 30 homers. For context, he hit all of 32 homers in his five previous minor league seasons.

Payton is a toolsy outfielder. Fangraphs has considered all of his abilities to be league average at minimum, projecting Payton as a future fourth outfielder.

At 28 years old, it is hard to see Payton developing beyond where he is now. The A’s also have a solid outfield, and with several utility options that can also slot into those areas, it is hard to see where Payton will have much of a chance moving forward. But those adjustments to his swing, and his production in 2019, make him intriguing. And a player the A’s are likely glad to have back.

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Mark Payton has been returned to the Oakland A’s. Maybe this will be the year he gets a chance to show what he can do in the majors.