SF Giants Post-Prospects Update: Ranking Dubon, Webb, and others
SF Giants Post-Prospect Prospects:
#9 C Chadwick Tromp
Acquired: Waivers (2020, via CIN)
Future Value: 35+
Career MLB Stats: 17 G, 54 PA, 2 HR, .176/.185/.314, 1.9% BB%, 33.3% K%
The Giants signed catcher Chadwick Tromp as a minor league free agent this offseason. Turning just 25-years old this March, Tromp had an uncommon amount of upside for a minor-league free agent.
Originally signed as an international free agent by the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, Tromp’s primarily served as a system catcher, working as a backup across nearly every minor-league level. However, a severe shoulder injury took away most of his 2018 and 2019 seasons. When he was on the field in 2019 though, Tromp hit like a new player. In 42 games (26 at Triple-A), Tromp slashed .280/.397/.568 with 9 home runs.
In summer camp this year, Tromp hit the cover off the ball and put himself in prime position to make the opening day roster before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the opener. Once he recovered, the Giants made him the primary starter alongside Tyler Heineman.
While he made an impressive first impression with a pair of home runs, Tromp has since hit a severe plateau at the plate. On the season, Tromp is hitting just .176/.185/.314 and has struck out in more than 33% of his plate appearances.
The reality is, while Tromp was impressive in 2019, he’s posted just a .257/.321/.381 line over his entire minor-league career. Still, he’s not entirely overmatched against premium fastballs.
Against fastballs this season, Tromp is hitting .200 with a .440 slugging and averaging an impressive 91.3 average exit-velocity. Breaking balls and offspeed pitches though have been abysmal for him. Tromp is 3 for 26 with just one double and a 42.3% strikeout rate against all non-fastballs. If he can improve his pitch recognition, that should allow him to tap into his power more and contain his propensity to strikeout.
On the positive side of things, Tromp is already ranking among the league’s best defensive catchers. Even in his small-sample, Tromp has ranked as one of the 15-best pitch framers in baseball, according to Baseball Savant, and has recorded a positive defensive WAR on FanGraphs (which does not use pitch-framing data).
Elite defensive catchers can stick around awhile. Given Tromp’s youth and power potential, he has a pretty good chance to do that. I remain bullish on his hitting potential because of how relatively little pro experience he has. Even though he’s in his 7th year as a pro, he still hasn’t played 350 professional games. If it weren’t for his injury history, he’d probably have a low-40 grade. Assuming health, he has a pretty good chance to be a defense-first backup with an everyday player upside.