SF Giants add left-handed hurler in waiver claim

Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays
Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The Steele Walker era might already be over. The 26-year-old outfield prospect was designated for assignment after the SF Giants claimed left-handed pitcher Andrew Vasquez off of waivers.

SF Giants add left-handed hurler in waiver claim

The Giants added Walker in a waiver claim about 10 days ago when they, oddly, had an opening on the 40-man roster. He recorded three hits, including one home run, in 18 at-bats with the Sacramento River Cats before being placed on waivers again.

Vasquez was originally drafted in the 32nd round of the 2015 draft by the Minnesota Twins out of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He debuted with the Twins in 2018 where he allowed three earned runs on seven strikeouts against two walks in five innings.

He appeared briefly with the Twins in the following year and then had cameo appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Toronto Blue Jays. In total, Vasquez has registered an 8.10 ERA, 4.86 FIP, 1.42 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, and a 2.29 SO/W ratio in 21 major league appearances. This includes a strong 54.1 percent ground ball rate.

Of course, the 28-year-old pitcher has been much more effective across seven minor league seasons. In that time, he has posted a 2.42 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, and a 3.09 SO/W ratio with 12 saves while working primarily out of the bullpen. Vasquez has generally recorded ground ball rates well above 50 percent at every minor league stop, so he induces a fair amount of weak contact to go along with good strikeout numbers.

He does not overpower opposing hitters. The lefty flashes a sinker that sits in the low-90's that he pairs with a curveball that generally gets good spin. He used to throw a changeup, but he did not use that pitch in his lone appearance with Toronto this season.

The Giants need more left-handed bullpen depth and Vasquez checks that box. Jarlin García has become the primary southpaw out of the bullpen with Alex Young emerging as a potential option as well recently. Given how light the Giants are on lefty relievers, Vasquez might be in line for a look down the stretch.