Over the past week, the Mets added some depth to their Triple-A team. The additions included corner-infielder/outfielder Jason Botts, middle-infielder Luis Figueroa, and outfielder Bubba Bell (via the Cleveland Indians). None of the players figure to see time in the show, but Botts was at least once a big prospect in the Rangers system.
Botts was drafted in the 46th round of the 1999 draft by the Texas Rangers. Considering his appearance–6’5″ and 250 pounds–the corner-infielder/outfielder seemed destined to be a Major League slugger. The switch-hitter started to make some noise in 2003, when he posted a .294/.382/.440, 13 home-runs, 88 RBI, 84 runs-scored, and 18 stolen-bases between Single-A and Double-A. The following season in Double-A, Botts proved he was “the real deal” by posting a superb double-digits home-runs season (24). The Rangers promoted the hitter to Triple-A in 2005, where he promptly continued his slugfest, posting a .286/.375/.522 line with 25 home-runs, 102 RBI, 93 runs-scored, and 2 stolen-bases.
But whether it was a lack of opportunity or his ineffective short stints in the Majors (career .230/.325/.344 line in 326 plate appearances), Botts never seemed to be in the Rangers long-term plans. In 2008, the Rangers finally parted ways with the successful minor leaguer, and Botts jumped ship to Japan. The former prospect came back to the states in 2010, playing for the Washington Nationals Triple-A team, but didn’t have quite the same power as before (just 11 home-runs in 488 plate appearances).
At this point, it’s unlikely Botts will ever hit double-digit home-runs at any level, but more importantly–at age 30–his time is running out to even prove he’s a capable Major League bench player.