The Luke Williams era in San Francisco is over as the SF Giants completed a trade on Thursday that sent a versatile infielder to the Miami Marlins. Williams was designated for assignment last weekend, so it was just a matter of time before his situation was resolved.
SF add versatile switch-hitter in trade with the Marlins
The Marlins sent over versatile, switch-hitting prospect Hayden Cantrelle in exchange for Williams. Cantrelle was originally selected in the fifth round of the 2020 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Lafayette, Louisiana.
This is the second trade that Cantrelle has been involved in a trade during his brief career as a pro. The first came just over a month ago when he was sent to the Marlins from Milwaukee in exchange for catcher Alex Jackson.
The 23-year-old prospect does a lot of things that the Giants like in a player. He can hit from both sides of the plate, play multiple positions, and he draws a lot of walks. In two minor league seasons, Cantrelle has slashed .174/.356/.314 with 10 home runs, 17 doubles, and 44 RBI while reaching as high as Double-A.
This includes a 19.4 percent walk rate, which is great, against a 28.7 percent strikeout rate, which is really high for a prospect who does not hit for a lot of home run power. He is an aggressive base runner as well, stealing 35 bags in 48 attempts.
In the field, Cantrelle has experience at shortstop, second base, and third base. However, he had experience in center field and left field as well in college. It would not be surprising to see the Giants use him in the outfield again given how they like to leverage positional versatility.
Despite Cantrelle's hit tool leaving a bit to be desired, Eric Logenhagen of Fangraphs believes that the middle infield prospect has the tools to become a utility player:
""Even in a smaller conference it was clear Cantrelle was pretty allergic to breaking balls, and he’ll likely never hit enough to play a huge role. But the fact that he switch-hits and has the speed and projected versatility he does provides other ways for him to impact a game in a reserve role.""- Eric Logenhagen
On the other side of the trade, Williams heads to Miami. He was acquired just before the beginning of the season and had a couple of clutch hits in the first week of the year including a two-run double to help the Giants secure a 2-1 victory against the San Diego Padres on April 13.
He plays all around the field, handles left-handed pitching, and has three minor league options remaining, so he holds some value on the 40-man roster. In the end, the Giants get a prospect in Cantrelle who could possibly fill a similar role in a couple of years.