SF Giants: Raffi Vizcaino, Drew Robinson Re-signed

SF Giants infieder Drew Robinson (80) poses for a photo during spring training media day at Scottsdale Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
SF Giants infieder Drew Robinson (80) poses for a photo during spring training media day at Scottsdale Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) /
SF Giants, Raffi Vizcaino
SF Giants pitcher Raffi Vizcaino (90) poses for a photo during spring training media day at Scottsdale Stadium. (Jayne Kamin-Once-USA TODAY Sports) /

With free agency underway and several SF Giants players becoming minor-league free agents, the team already made sure to bring Drew Robinson and Raffi Vizcaino back into the fold.

18 SF Giants players were declared minor-league free agents at the onset of the offseason, but outfielder Drew Robinson and right-handed pitcher Raffi Vizcaino have been re-signed on minor-league pacts, according to GPT.

The Giants originally signed Vizcaino as an 18-year-old international free-agency prospect during the 2012-2013 J2 signing period for a $200,000 signing bonus. While he found early career success as a starter, he stalled out and took another step forward after moving to the bullpen.

In seven minor league seasons, the native of the Dominican Republic has registered a 3.92 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 23.5 percent strikeout rate in 399 frames. However, this comes with a less-than-stellar 10.1 percent walk rate, so he has struggled with control at times.

In 2019, Vizcaino reached the Giants Double-A affiliate in Richmond, where he posted a 3.66 ERA with a 21.5 percent strikeout rate in 46.2 innings. This looked to be a promising campaign for the young hurler to build off of, but the minor league season was, of course, shut down entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given that Vizcaino was moved to the bullpen in 2019, it seemed as if he was on the fast track to earning a spot on the major league roster. His arsenal includes a mid-90’s fastball with a good changeup and curveball, but all of his pitches play down due to poor placement.

If the Triple-A season does take place in 2021, he will probably start the year there.

Primary outfielder, but really super-utility player, Robinson is returning on a minor league pact. Unlike Vizcaino, the left-handed bat has spent only one year of his career in the Giants organization and has some big-league experience.

Appearing in parts of three seasons with the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals, Robinson slashed a .202/.296/.359 line (70 OPS+) with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 253 plate appearances.  This comes with an excellent 11.9 percent walk rate, but an unsightly 40.3 percent strikeout rate.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that Robinson can hit the ball far when he gets a hold of a pitch, it’s just finding consistency that remains a problem.

The 28-year-old is very much the modern hitter in that his at-bats end in the three true outcomes – home run, walk, or strikeout.

In 10 minor league seasons, Robinson has slashed a .252/.362/.438 line with 106 home runs, 456 RBI, and 13.9 percent walk rate. The Giants like his combination of power, plate discipline, and patience.

Plus, he can play all over the field. The former fourth-round pick has experience at every position besides catcher and pitcher. If you give him a glove, he will find a way to make it work.

Brought into camp last season, it seemed like he had an outside shot of making the club. Since he is being brought back again, I would guess he is still competing for a roster spot. Even if not, he’s almost assured to be playing at Triple-A.

Related Story. SF Giants: Dunston, Righetti not Retained

Both Raffi Vizcaino and Drew Robinson represent solid depth additions for any MLB team, which is why the SF Giants made it a priority to ensure both remained in the organization heading into 2021. Only time will tell whether they’ll have an opportunity to contibute at the big-league level with the Giants.