Profile: Originally a 25th round pick out of high school by the Texas Rangers back in 2007, Wilkins opted to head to college at Arkansas where he spent three seasons before being selected by the Chicago White Sox in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. He signed with Chicago for $195,000 and began his pro career that same season with Great Falls in the Pioneer League. In 53 games, Wilkins batted .307 with fourteen doubles and six home runs, establishing himself as a power threat. The White Sox thought highly enough of Wilkins to jump him past Low-A and have him open the 2011 season with their High-A affiliate in Winston-Salem. In 134 games in the Carolina League, he hit .278, clubbing 33 doubles and 23 home runs, earning a promotion to Double-A Birmingham a season later. His average dipped to .239 there, but he still earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League following the season, where he hit .270 in 21 games for Salt River. He split the 2013 season between Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, and opened 2014 back at Charlotte, where he belted 30 home runs, earning a call to the big leagues in late August. He saw action in 17 games for the White Sox in 2014 but hit just .140 and when the White Sox removed him from their 40-man roster at the end of spring training last season, he was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. His time with Toronto was short however as Los Angeles purchased his contract from the Blue Jays on May 3rd and he spent the remainder of the season in the Dodgers organization. He bounced from the Dodgers to the Orioles to the Mariners to the Rangers over the offseason before finally landing with the Brewers in December. Milwaukee sent Wilkins to Triple-A Colorado Springs to open the 2016 season and he appeared in 76 games for the Sky Sox, hitting .238 with 11 home runs at the time of his call-up.
Strengths: The big thing that Wilkins brings to the table is his power bat, having racked up 122 home runs over the course of seven minor league seasons and sporting a career minor league OPS of .812. He also offers manager Craig Counsell a bit of roster flexibility, having spent time at first base as well as in the outfield this season while also logging some time at third base earlier in his career. Another thing working in Wilkins’ favor is his plate discipline, as he doesn’t strike out as much as you might expect from a power hitter.
Weaknesses: Aside from this season, where Wilkins has handled left-handed pitchers better than righties, his splits against lefties make him look like more of a platoon player. He struggled in limited big league action in 2014 and will need to prove that he can hit against the toughest competition to get regular playing time. A below average defender, Wilkins is probably better suited for first base though he does have a plus arm in the outfield. He’s not much of a runner and is more of a station-to-station guy on the bases as well.
Future: The stay in the big leagues is likely to be a brief one for Wilkins as he’ll probably return to Colorado Springs following the All-Star break, but his versatility and left-handed bat should get him some playing time over the next few days which could make for a nice audition should Milwaukee opt to deal current first baseman Chris Carter at the trade deadline. Just a few short years ago he was rated as one of the top prospects in the White Sox organization and thought of as the heir apparent to Paul Konerko at first base in Chicago so there’s still hope that he could turn into a waiver wire steal for David Stearns and company.