The SF Giants did not make the big move at the trade deadline but they did make a few minor moves to add a little extra versatility to the 40-man roster. On Monday, they acquired catcher and middle infielder Ford Proctor in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
SF Giants add positional versatility in trade with the Tampa Bay Rays
Minor league reliever Jeremy Walker was shipped to the Rays as Tampa Bay was looking to open up a 40-man roster spot by adding a non-roster player. Since Proctor was occupying a 40-man roster spot, the Giants needed to make a corresponding move, which they did by designating Kervin Casto for assignment.
Castro's stay on the waiver wire was short-lived as he was claimed by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. In Proctor, the Giants are getting a 25-year-old prospect capable of playing multiple infield positions as well as catcher.
The left-handed bat was originally drafted as an infielder in the third round of the 2018 draft by the Rays out of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Catching was not a position he played in college, but he picked it up while playing for the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League during the canceled 2020 minor league season.
He has continued to appear at catcher where he has had some shaky moments but he has shown the athleticism and work ethic to be able to learn the nuances.
In addition to learning to be a backstop on the fly, Proctor really opened some eyes with a solid performance in Double-A in 2021. The former Rice University product slashed .244/.381/.419 (127 wRC+) with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, and 54 runs in 381 plate appearances. This included a 16.5 percent walk rate against a 26.2 percent strikeout rate.
He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft last winter, so the Rays protected him by adding him to the 40-man roster. Of course, the Rule 5 draft never actually took place due to the lockout, so this move proved to be unnecessary.
Prior to the 2021 season, Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs ranked Proctor as the No. 12 prospect in a deep Rays farm system. However, he has struggled to replicate 2021's performance.
Proctor has registered a .213/.329/.306 (78 wRC+) with six home runs, 28 RBI, and 27 runs in 317 Triple-A plate appearances. He continues to post an excellent walk rate at 13.9 percent, but his strikeout rate has spiked to 30.9 percent, and his struggles to hit with power are concerning.
That said, the Giants did add speed and versatility to a 40-man roster that is not nearly athletic enough to compete. Can he regain the form that made him so intriguing last season? That remains to be seen, but the Giants will try to get him right.