Giants: How can waiver claim Trevor Oaks help the team in 2020?
By Joel Reuter
The MLB offseason is officially underway, and Tuesday was a busy day on the waiver wire for the San Francisco Giants. Who is waiver claim Trevor Oaks?
If you’ve kept an eye on the farm systems of opposing NL West teams in recent seasons, the name Trevor Oaks might ring a bell. He’s now a member of the San Francisco Giants after a busy day of 40-man roster shuffling.
Oaks, 26, was a seventh-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2014 MLB draft out of California Baptist University in Riverside, California.
In a deep Dodgers farm system, he was ranked as the No. 14 prospect prior to the 2017 season and the No. 15 prospect prior to the 2018 season, according to Baseball America.
He was traded to the Kansas City Royals prior to the 2018 season as part of a three-team, six-player deal that saw Scott Alexander join the Dodgers and Joakim Soria join the White Sox.
Now he’s part of the Giants organization as one of three waiver claims made on Tuesday:
Oaks made his MLB debut in April 2018, and he was hit hard in four total appearances in the big leagues. He posted a respectable 3.23 ERA in 128.1 innings of work at the Triple-A level, though.
He then missed almost the entire 2019 season recovering from hip surgery.
One cause for concern is his extremely low strikeout rate, which sat a just 4.9 K/9 in 2019. That speaks to an extreme inability to miss bats.
However, his success has long been tied to his sinker-heavy approach, as MLB.com explained back in 2018:
"Oaks relies heavily on his heavy sinker, which produced a 2.2 groundout/airout ratio though his first four pro seasons. His two-seam fastball sat around 90 mph in college but now operates at 92-96 mph and he can spot it on either side of the plate. The rest of his repertoire grades as fringy to average, with his changeup more reliable than his cutter or short slider.Though he can’t overpower hitters, Oaks goes right after them and refuses to give in."
That bulldog mentality and ability to keep the ball on the ground could make him a valuable middle reliever pitching in front of a good San Francisco Giants infield defense.
He’s been used primarily as a starter throughout his pro career and has a durable 6’3″, 225-pound frame, but he might profile best as a groundball specialist out of the bullpen in the mold of former St. Louis Cardinals reliever Seth Maness.
At the very least, he brings some quality depth with remaining minor league options, and he’ll get a chance to show what he can do this spring if he survives the offseason of roster shuffling.