The SF Giants have had plenty of solid performances at the plate in the Cactus League, but one non-roster invitee is making an unexpectedly strong first impression with the club.
When the SF Giants signed infielder Jason Krizan in November of 2020, it did not make the headlines. However, he has quietly put together a strong spring and will be one to watch as the 2021 season progresses.
Non-roster invitee has been a surprise performer for SF Giants
The Detroit Tigers originally drafted the left-handed bat in the eighth round of the 2011 draft out of Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas. He never had the draft pedigree of a top prospect, but his production at the plate improved as he rose through the minor-league ranks. This is an encouraging sign and an indicator that Krizan is the type of player who can adapt to new coaching methods.
In nine minor-league seasons, he has slashed .271/.350/.399 with 66 home runs and 461 RBI. This comes with a solid 10.8 percent walk rate against a 10.8 percent strikeout rate, so he brings an intriguing combination of plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills that the front office targets. That is not an error by the way. Krizan has struck out exactly as many times as he has walked in his pro career.
The strong contact skills are a good indicator that he can undergo swing changes without losing the ability to put the ball in play. Similar to Donovan Solano, Krizan just might need the right environment to further develop.
On this same note, the journeyman infielder had a breakout campaign in 2019 where he posted a .275/.358/.469 line with 14 home runs, which was a career-high, and 65 RBI in 443 plate appearances across two minor-league affiliates.
The Giants front office has an eye for players who experience late-career breakthroughs with the hope that they can become a productive major leaguer. Krizan fits that description as well as Jason Vosler, who is in camp on a guaranteed contract.
Vosler is having a nice spring, but he is not the only Jason who is opening eyes. Krizan has eight hits in 27 at-bats with two home runs, one double, and five RBI while consistently making loud contact:
San Francisco is finding plenty of playing time for Krizan and that is due in part to how he is hitting as well as his versatility. The 31-year-old has experience at every position with the exception of catcher. His most experience has come in left field, but teams are comfortable moving him around.
There is always going to be a surprise performer or two every spring. Krizan is that player this year and the Giants have taken notice as well. For a person who has spent so much time in the minors as he has, it is a fun story to follow.