Blake Sabol was one of the better stories in SF Giants camp. However, the season has began and the catching prosect just is not producing enough at the plate to justify a roster spot. Is time running out for Sabol?
Is time running out for SF Giants Rule 5 pick?
When the Giants acquired Sabol in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, it was essentially a no-risk move that had the potential for a nice payoff. That move looked like it was bound to payoff as he had an impressive spring training, slashing .348/.475/.630 with three home runs, 10 RBI, and 13 runs in 62 plate appearances.
It was an easy decision to keep him on the Opening Day roster. However, the tough task was always going to be figuring out a way for him to stick. The success rate on Rule 5 picks is so low and that is especially true for position players. You can hide a pitcher in the bullpen by using him in low-leverage spots, but it is hard to hide a position player on the bench.
And, I would not expect the Giants to do that. The left-handed bat has recorded just five hits with 11 strikeouts in 30 plate appearances before Tuesday's game. That is just not enough production at the plate.
San Francisco intended to use Sabol at catcher despite the fact that he had just 94 games of pro experience behind the plate under his belt. If he was producing offensively, the Giants might be able to accept some growing pains on defense.
Without the bat, it is just a tough roster spot to justify. They may not need to make a decision in the immediate future, so Sabol has time to reverse the trend. The Giants are down two catchers with Roberto Pérez on the injured list and Austin Wynns on waivers. The latter could remain in the organization if he clears waivers and accepts a Triple-A assignment.
Though, it is difficult to ignore that the Giants have another catcher on the depth chart in Gary Sánchez. Sánchez did not a normal spring training as he went unsigned, so it will take a couple of weeks to get ready. Plus, he has an opt-out on May 1, so the Giants may be influenced to make a decision on him sooner rather than later.
They could carry three catchers, but that seems unlikely to be a permanent option. Rule 5 picks need to hit early and often to stick. So far, that just has not been the case with Sabol. There is still time to buck the trend, but the clock is ticking.