To make room for the recent free agent signings of Carlos Rodon and Jakob Junis, the SF Giants had to make room on their roster by designating a pair of pitchers for assignment: right-handed pitcher Hunter Harvey and left-handed pitcher Caleb Baragar.
While Harvey was preparing for his first action with the Giants in 2022 after being claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles last November, Baragar had been in the farm system since being drafted and pitched for the Giants in both 2020 and 2021.
Both pitchers were claimed on waivers this week, with Harvey heading back to the East Coast to play for the Washington Nationals and Baragar joining the roster of a Giants division rival, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Baragar was drafted by the Giants in the ninth round of the 2016 draft out of Indiana University and advanced slowly through the system. He pitched well in his first pro season, spent mainly in Complex ball in the Arizona League (2.28 ERA, 50 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings with the AZL Giants), then struggled to a 4.63 ERA in 22 starts with Low-A Augusta in 2017.
The next season, Baragar improved with Augusta, whiffing 73 in 67 innings with a 4.03 ERA, and received a bump to High-A San Jose as well as a quick taste of Triple-A with Sacramento. 2019 was Barager's final year as a full-time starter, as he opened 26 of his 28 appearances between San Jose, Double-A Richmond and Sacramento. With Richmond he pitched to a 3.45 ERA while allowing just 83 hits in 120 innings and striking out 107.
Baragar made his MLB debut in the Giants' third game of the shortened 2020 season, tossing two scoreless innings in relief to earn the victory in the team's 5-4 win at the Los Angeles Dodgers. He appeared in 24 total games in 2020, starting once and striking out 19 in 22 1/3 innings with a 4.03 ERA.
In 2021, Baragar saw his walks and hits per nine innings rise while his strikeout numbers dropped, but his ERA was a sparkling 1.57 over 25 relief appearances (23 innings).
Baragar thanked the SF Giants and fans
On Thursday night, Baragar took to Twitter to express his thanks to the Giants and their fans:
Arizona already has one former Giants lefty, Madison Bumgarner, and they probably figure Baragar adds value and experience coming from the sport's top regular-season team in 2021.