SF Giants: Non-Roster Invitee Opening Eyes in Camp
By Jeff Young
Pitchers and catchers have been in camp for several days now, but one SF Giants non-roster invitee is getting some extra attention.
Sam Long has been praised on multiple occasions so far by SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler as Mark Sanchez of KNBR notes.
SF Giants non-roster invitee opening eyes in camp
Long signed as a minor-league free agent in November, but the move did not get that much attention at the time. The left-handed hurler was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 18th round of the 2016 draft out of Sacramento State. He did not play in 2018 but signed on with the White Sox for the 2019 season before becoming a free agent.
For several years, Long had pitched in the lower minor league levels with no experience above Low-A. So, it was a mild surprise that the Giants signed him with an invitation to spring training. Teams can issue only 75 camp invites with 40 of those generally going to players on the 40-man roster.
That leaves 35 remaining invites, which are then distributed to top prospects and players knocking on the door for a promotion. On the surface, the left-handed hurler does not necessarily fit into either one of those buckets.
In three minor-league seasons, Long has registered a 10-6 record, 2.95 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, and a strong 3.20 SO/W ratio. The SO/W ratio suggests that not he is capable of commanding his arsenal well in the strike zone.
These are all good stats but considering that he pitched for three seasons in college ball, it is fair to say that the competition might be beneath him. Of course, the canceled 2020 minor-league season threw a wrench into any possibility he may have had in taking the next step forward in his development.
His arsenal features a fastball that sits in the low 90’s with a good changeup and a curveball. Interestingly, the changeup has been an area of emphasis early on in camp with some of the veterans planning to use it more in 2021.
Plus, he had been lighting up the radar gun in preparation for Cactus League play:
Long has a ways to go before a promotion to the big club is on the table, but it is clear that he is on the Giants’ radar. With little experience above Low-A, expect the 25-year-old to be tasked with facing a new level of competition this season.