Could a young SF Giants position player add yet another position to the mix?

Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants
Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

The 2023 season was a steep learning curve for Blake Sabol. He was learning the nuances of catching while trying to stick as a Rule 5 pick. The young SF Giants position player could be adding a new position to his repertoire - first base.

Could a young SF Giants position player add yet another position to the mix?

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle relayed the message that Giants manager Bob Melvin was considering adding first base to Sabol's plate. Earlier in the week, we looked at what the Giants' plans were for the lefty bat in 2024. While he did show some growth behind the plate last year, he still has a long way to go before he can be a dependable catcher.

Plus, Sabol is currently blocked at both catcher and left field. The Giants have Patrick Bailey entrenched as the starting catcher with veteran glove Tom Murphy serving as his backup. Michael Conforto should see plenty of time in left field, but there is a chance that Luis Matos or Heliot Ramos fill in as needed. Sabol is no longer under the restrictions of a Rule 5 pick, so he could start the year in Triple-A.

First base would be just another way to get Sabol's bat into the lineup even if they already have Wilmer Flores and LaMonte Wade Jr. slotted in at that position. The 26-year-old registered a .235/.301/.394 line (91 OPS+) with 13 home runs, 44 RBI, and 36 runs in 344 plate appearances. This includes a 7.0 percent walk rate, 34.0 percent strikeout rate, and a .158 ISO.

The strikeout rate does need to come down and that should be one of the next steps in Sabol's development. He only had 101 plate appearances at Triple-A before he joined the Giants as a Rule 5 pick last year. There is still some development left to realize. However, Sabol did flash the potential to hit 20 home runs per season and that type of skillset just does not grow on trees.

So, adding first base to Sabol's profile could allow him to reach that potential. I should note that learning new positions in spring training does not always translate to the regular season. You see players try to pick up a position in March, but it does not work out for one reason or another.

Luckily, the learning curve is much quicker than learning the nuances of catcher. It is not an entirely new position for him as he appeared at first base in the Cape Cod League in 2017 and 2018. Since then, he has focused on catcher and corner outfield.

It would not be a bad thing if Sabol began the year in Triple-A. It would give him a chance to be the everyday backstop and get valuable game experience that he would not necessarily get on the major league roster. However, if he is able to pick up first base, it would open the door for more playing time.