Versatile catcher is a buzzword for an SF Giants team that likes multi-positional players. On Wednesday, the SF Giants acquired catcher/corner outfielder Blake Sabol in exchange for cash and a player to be named later according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.
SF Giants add versatile catcher in trade with the Cincinnati Reds
It was an interesting couple of hours for Sabol. He was selected by the Reds with the fourth pick of the Rule 5 draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants had an open roster spot but opted not to make a pick. However, they acquired Sabol in a trade from the Reds shortly after that.
Given that he was selected in the Rule 5 draft, Sabol was immediately added to the Giants' 40-man roster. This will essentially be an open tryout for Sabol as the Giants would need to offer him back to the Pirates if they cannot keep him on the active roster throughout the 2023 season. The hit rate on Rule 5 picks is very low, especially for position players.
Sabol was not a power threat in college, never hitting more than four home runs in a season. However, he has developed more power as a pro. In 2022, the left-handed bat slashed .284/.363/.497 with 19 home runs, 75 RBI, and 74 runs in 513 plate appearances across two levels. This included a 10.7 percent walk rate against a 25.1 percent strikeout rate.
The 24-year-old prospect reached Triple-A for the first time last year as he earned a late-season promotion. He posted a .969 OPS in 101 plate appearances for the Indianapolis Indians of the International League.
Sabol is an interesting choice for the Giants as he plays catcher as well as either corner outfield spot. He is a good framer and flashes a quality arm behind the plate, but his blocking needs improvement. He could be a natural platoon complement to the right-handed-hitting Joey Bart if the Giants decide to pursue that.
However, he will still need to make the team out of spring training. Trading for him is a no-risk move for San Francisco as the Giants can return him to the Pirates if he does not carve out a role. That said, he will occupy a 40-man roster spot this winter, so the Giants will need to maneuver around a full 40-man roster if they decide to make any more moves.