Mark Payton was acquired by the New York Yankees back in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft when he was selected in the seventh round out of the University of Texas.
The 5’8” lefty debuted in Charleston (Single-A) and immediately found success. He slashed .357/.443/.500 with two homers, four doubles, a triple and 13 RBI’s in 22 games before earning a promotion to the Tampa Yankees (Single A – Advanced). Mark hit .286 with two home runs, 11 doubles, a triple, with 8 RBI’s in 91 at bats for the T-Yanks.
Orland Park, Illinois native began the season back in Tampa but spent over half the year with the Trenton Thunder (Double-A). After hitting .291 in 49 games with Tampa, the outfielder slashed .250/.315/.348 with five round-trippers, nine doubles, a triple, and 34 runs batted in over 72 games with the Thunder.
After beginning the season with a short stint in Tampa, Mark was promoted back to Trenton. Payton even earned a two-game, cup-of-coffee callup with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders (Triple-A) thanks to his impressive season. In 338 at-bats in 97 games, Payton improved his numbers at Double A. He slashed .272/.337/.408 with seven homers, 15 doubles, and five triples. Mark struck out just 50 times and drew 31 walks.
The 190-pounder got off to an uncharacteristically bad start in 14 games with the Thunder, yet still was sent back up to Scranton where he spent the remainder of the season. Payton produced at a very similar clip of .272/.334/407 in the International League. In 268 at-bats, Mark hit six homers, 14 doubles, two triples and drove in 22 runs for the RailRiders.
Payton is a scrappy outfielder whose biggest strength is his impressive feel for the strike zone (plate discipline). He has plus speed that allows him to play all three outfield positions at an above average grade. Mark has proven that Payton can hit for average in the highest levels in the minors. However, he is not an everyday outfielder on a championship caliber team. Look for him to be traded by the end of 2018. He will not make it to New York; he will be an excellent Triple-A outfielder if he stays in the organization.
The Yankees did not protect Payton for the Rule V draft in Orlando, FL this past December, nor was he selected. Mark will spend the entire year in Scranton if he doesn’t get traded during the season. He has Jake Cave, Tyler Austin, Billy McKinney and Jabari Blash all on the 40-man roster, blocking him from advancing to the bigs.