The SF Giants quietly added a middle infielder on a minor league pact to bolster infield depth at the lower levels.
Hat tip to GPT for the confirmation, the SF Giants signed infielder Kyle Mottice to a minor league deal:
Mottice spent four seasons at the University of Cincinnati before signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an undrafted free agent. In that time, the left-handed bat slashed .268/.343/.347 with seven home runs and 73 RBI across 851 plate appearances.
On the surface, these are not the most encouraging numbers, but he did have a modest breakout season in 2018 where he posted an .877 OPS with 11 doubles, two triples, three home runs, and 29 RBI in 269 plate appearances.
This was enough to earn a contract with the Pirates organization where he climbed up the lower minor league levels, reaching as high as Low Single-A. In two seasons as a pro, Mottice has posted a .310/.469/.360 line with no home runs and 31 RBI. This comes with a solid 13.2 percent walk rate against a 10.2 percent strikeout rate.
Not included in that walk rate is the fact that Mottice has been hit an incredible 37 times since becoming a pro. Some players just have a knack for taking one for the team and he certainly brings that skill to the table.
Interestingly, the 25-year-old has performed better as a pro than he did during his collegiate career. He does not hit with much power, which limits his upside, but he does give teams a gritty at-bat and can coax a walk (or HBP).
In the field, Mottice has experience at shortstop, second base, third base, first base, and even one-third of an inning in left field (which is one-third of an inning more than Cory Gearrin can say).
It is not yet known where he will begin next season, but given his pro track record, he likely will not make a jump to Doubble or Triple-A.
That said, he will give a Giants minor league affiliate a versatile glove with a good approach at the plate. Since Farhan Zaidi has taken over as the SF Giants president of baseball operations, he has not only filled major league team with hitters who show good patience and plate discipline, but he continues to do it at the minor league ranks as well.