The Chicago Cubs are getting really loaded up on semi-versatile infield types, eh? They’ve claimed another on waivers today.
It’s 26-year-old 3B/2B Rylan Bannon from the Braves:
Bannon, 26, was a long-time Orioles prospect, rating 20th early in 2021 at FanGraphs (which is what I could find quickly with lots of news flying around): “He isn’t especially graceful nor does he have great hands or actions, but Bannon plays an adequate, effort-based second and third base. More importantly, he can hit. His low load enables him to lift pitches with regularity, but he’s also short back to the ball and tough to beat with velocity. This becomes especially true with two strikes, when Bannon chokes up and spoils tough pitches. He runs deep counts and walks a bunch, and he’s going to hit a ton of doubles and play a shift-aided spot on the infield. He struggles to lay off of breaking stuff below the zone but as long as that’s not a devastating issue, I think Bannon will be a big league role player.”
Bannon wound up getting bounced off the Orioles’ 40-man at midseason, picked up by the Dodgers, then waived again, and picked up by the Braves, who waived him this week (and likely hoped to be able to outright him to Triple-A and keep him for 2023 on a minor league deal). That tells the story of a guy who is good enough for lots of teams to want in their org, but not quite good enough to want on the 40-man roster.
A good early guess is that the Cubs will also try to sneak Bannon through waivers at some point this offseason, so they can stash him at Triple-A without taking up a 40-man spot. Heck, for all we know, they’ll now try to non-tender him at the deadline and get him to immediately agree to a solid minor league deal.
If not, then the Cubs have possibly squeezed Zach McKinstry out further, given the addition of Miles Mastrobuoni earlier in the week.
Bannon hits righty, and posted a .229/.347/.407/104 wRC+ at Triple-A this year with the Orioles.