SF Giants Acquire Former First-Round Pick From Tampa Bay Rays

Daniel Robertson was called up by the SF Giants. (Photo by John Capella/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
Daniel Robertson was called up by the SF Giants. (Photo by John Capella/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /
SF Giants, Daniel Robertson
Daniel Robertson of the Tampa Bay Rays was acquired by the SF Giants on Sunday (Photo by John Capella/Sports Imagery/Getty Images) /

The SF Giants acquired former first-round pick, Daniel Robertson, from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash or a player to be named later.

While the SF Giants offense has been on a tear recently, that didn’t stop them from adding another bat to their middle-infield depth. Early Sunday morning, the team revealed that the Giants had acquired utilityman Daniel Robertson in exchange for cash or a player to be named later. He was immediately assigned to the team’s alternate site in Sacramento. However, to make space on the 40-man roster, the Giants designated longtime fan favorite Hunter Pence.

Robertson was drafted with the 34th overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics. Current Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was a part of the A’s brass at the time.

Early in his career, Robertson moved relatively quickly through the lower levels of the minor leagues. With the A’s High-A affiliate in Stockton, Robertson-at just 20 years old-mashed 15 home runs and walked nearly as much (72) as he struck out (94). That offseason, as Robertson began appearing on top-100 prospect lists, he became a centerpiece in the A’s acquisition of Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays.

After switching organizations, Robertson failed to replicate the double-digit home run power he’d flashed at Stockton. While he reached the majors in 2017, he looked more like a future utilityman than an everyday player.

In 2018, Robertson seemed to regain some of that previous form, posting a .797 OPS with 9 home runs in just 87 games. However, an injury ultimately derailed his season. The Rays incredible system depth alongside Robertson’s regression in production ultimately buried him on the depth chart and eventually left him on the outside of the roster.

With sporadic playing time over the past three seasons, Robertson has hit 32 doubles, 16 home runs, and a .231/.340/.352 triple-slash in 836 plate appearances. Defensively, Robertson has played all across the infield and in left field.

Robertson’s defense remains his best tool. He’s a strong shortstop and carries that ability across the infield. While he has struck out in over 25% of his big-league plate appearances, over his minor-league career, Robertson’s 17.4% strikeout rate suggests a swing change may be able to help him tap into a bit more power.

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Regardless, his righthanded bat and defensive versatility give him a solid floor as a bench bat. Just a few months older than Mauricio Dubon, Robertson’s profile isn’t too dissimilar. Dubon has done a better job of putting the ball in play but also has walked at a substantially lower rate than Robertson. Given how well Dubon has taken to centerfield, Robertson may offer another versatile infield piece to allow manager Gabe Kapler to more freely deploy Dubon in centerfield.