Spring training is the time to experiment with new swing mechanics and new positions. For the SF Giants, it is the latter that they will begin doing with both Blake Sabol and Brett Wisely as they will be tasked with getting some reps in the outfield before camp breaks.
SF Giants experimenting with outfield assignment for two prospects in camp
In fairness, outfield is not a totally new position for either prospect. Sabol spent time at catcher and the outfield at the University of Southern California, but he was drafted as an outfielder after being selected in the seventh round of the 2019 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 25-year-old prospect planned to stay in the outfield, but volunteered to get some work behind the dish at the request of the Pirates. As a result, he has a total of just 94 games as a pro at catcher, so when the Giants traded for him, the plan was to play him exclusively at catcher in spring training to maximize the number of reps he receives.
San Francisco is rethinking this approach just weeks into spring training according to manager Gabe Kapler, who indicates that Sabol could begin to see time in the outfield as well.
The Giants are dealing with an injury as Mitch Haniger sustained a Grade 1 oblique strain recently. The hope is that he is able to ramp up baseball activities after resting for a week. For now, the Giants do not believe he will miss Opening Day.
The team did receive some good news on Sunday as Austin Slater is in the lineup after dealing with an elbow ailment. This will be his first game action in the Cactus League this spring, so he should be ready to go when the season begins assuming no complications.
Along with Sabol, Wisely will see time in the outfield as well. He has a total of 23.1 innings in left field as a pro, but Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area confirms that the Giants were blown away with his instinct in center field while doing drills.
Wisely is slated to start in center field on Sunday in what could be a surprising experiment. He has flashed good power this spring as he has recorded three hits, including two home runs, in 12 at-bats. However, center field could really open up a chance for him to carve out a role for the Giants in 2023.
There may be some bumps along the way, but the Giants like what they have seen from Sabol and Wisely's bat that they are looking for ways to get them into the lineup. It is an interesting experiment for both, especially Wisely, who has such limited experience in the outfield as a pro, but will now see time at the position that requires the best instincts and range.